In December 2023, faced with an armed attack on his Dungwel community in the Mangu Local Government Area of Plateau State, Manji Le’an relocated to Mangu town to seek refuge with his uncle.
Though his house at Dungwel was not burnt, he said he was worried by the threats the attackers pose to the community, hence the need to relocate to a safer place.
Now, the recent attacks in Mangu Local Government Area of Plateau State have put more burden on him. He said his blood pressure has gone up, having managed to escape unhurt with his uncle as their neighbours set his uncle’s house ablaze.
This is the account of one of the survivors of Wednesday’s attack on Mangu which claimed over 30 lives, with several houses razed.
Le’an said: “I left Dungwel on December 13, last year, to stay with my uncle in his house near EKAN Primary School in Mangu town. I thought I will have peace there but as we speak, we have moved to Angwan Mission to stay with some relatives because my uncle’s house was burnt by his Muslim neighbours, on Wednesday. We managed to escape unhurt but we heard and saw them rejoicing that we had been burnt in the house.
“Three days ago, some Fulani herders attacked some Mwaghavul youths around the Sabon Gari area. The youths in that area protested against the action and were moving towards Ruga, (a Fulani settlement) to iron out the matter.
“Before we knew it, the Muslims settling at Sabon Kaswa (new market) started attacking their Mwaghavul neighbours, asking why the people would go to Ruga.
“The natives asked if they were supporting the actions of the Fulani herders that always attack the people and they said yes. The situation degenerated, leading to the burning of houses and the COCIN Church at Sabon Kaswa.
“The thing was snowballing from one place to the other and it got to our area around EKAN Primary school where our Muslim neighbours also joined in burning houses.
“When the thing started in our area, we locked ourselves in the house because we didn’t think they will want to harm us but surprisingly, we heard our neighbours asking if we were in and when they confirmed it, they started throwing things on the zinc, breaking the windows as the rampaging youths approached.
“When we saw that the house was on fire, we sneaked out through the back door without a pin as the attackers were gathered at the front.
“As we were walking away, we could hear them saying in Hausa language, “mun kona baban dake cikin dakin,” meaning we have burnt Baba inside the house, referring to my uncle. We are still shocked that this could happen and my BP has gone up. We are waiting for the curfew to be lifted, so I can take my uncle to join his son in Jos.”
The violence has been controlled and the curfew enforced at the time of this report. The poor network in the area is limiting communication but some natives say there is rising threat in some communities in Panyam district of Mangu.
Another survivor, Longji Fwangmun from Aloghom 1 community which was among the communities attacked last year, said: “The Fulani herders killed some of our boys who were returning from a mining site.
“Our people came out to confront them but soldiers came and escorted them and their cows to their settlement but within a short time, some IDPs taking refuge in Mangu were passing and they attacked them. They managed to escape and brought the report to us.
“This provoked our people who made efforts to go back to Ruga. My brother and I joined others to go there but the soldiers returned and tried to stop us while the Fulani herders retreated to Derkong, a Muslim community where they hibernate and come out to attack people.
“When some of our boys refused to step back, the soldiers opened fire and a bullet hit and killed my brother, Joel.
“While we were running, I couldn’t return to my village, so I went to my brother’s house at Kwahaslahir where we witnessed a complete destruction of property. The COCIN Church and houses were burnt. Julius clinic was also burnt and we heard patients were there.
‘’I can’t say if the patients were killed but I had to sleep in the bush at night so that I will not be burnt in the house. I managed to dodge the Fulani herders, Muslim youths and soldiers to return to Mangu where I am speaking with you from.