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PLATEAU: Church Denominational Leaders condemn resurgence of killings in Mangu/Riyom LGAs

by Christiana Gokyo, Jos

Plateau State Church Denominational Leaders and Spiritual Fathers have condemned the resurgence of mindless killings of innocent citizens in Mangu and Riyom Local Government Areas of Plateau State.

According to them, the killings, which started in Mangu villages on Monday, 15th May 2023, by so-called ‘unknown gunmen,’ have claimed many lives and properties with many persons still missing.

A statement was issued to Conscience Triumph on Sunday, in Jos, signed by ECWA President, Rev. Dr. Stephen Baba Panya, on behalf of Plateau State Denominational Leaders and Spiritual Fathers in the State.

He revealed that, the villages affected include Fungzai, Hale, Kubwat, Bwoi and many other communities of Kombun District of Mangu Local Government Area and some communities in Riyom Local Government Area. 

According to reports, about 130 people were killed, about 1,000 houses and about 22 churches burnt; about 22 villages affected, adding that, “We the Church Denominational Leaders and Spiritual Fathers on the Plateau State view this round of killings and destruction as devilish, barbaric and an act of genocide against innocent and armless villagers.

“This again is another sad commentary on the unabated bloodletting that has engulfed the State over the years, without any meaningful attempt by governments at federal and state levels to decisively address the unfortunate situation,” he stressed.

He lamented thus: “For how long will this bloodletting continue? The persistent attacks and killings in the state continue to raise a number of questions.

“The question is that, who really wants to destroy Plateau State and why? Are the killers really ‘unknown’ gunmen and why do they always have sophisticated weapons and enough time to wreak havoc on innocent citizens?

“What has happened to those arrested in previous attacks?” Are the security agencies in the state really handicapped? If we must move forward as a peaceful, united and democratic nation, then these and many other questions must be answered through deliberate action by government to bring these killings to the end and restore peace and tranquility in Plateau State and other troubled parts of the country. 

“We the Church Leaders and Spiritual Fathers are calling on the government and all security agencies to immediately stop this ongoing massacre and its spread to more communities.” 

They also urged relevant emergency management agencies to urgently provide shelter and relief materials to the affected communities and bring them the much-needed succor and implore spirited individuals, groups, and organizations to also come to the aid of these devastated communities. 

 While calling on all citizens to remain calm and peaceful in the face of this unwarranted persecution, they trust that government and its relevant agencies will immediately restore normalcy and build confidence of the people. 

They commiserated with families of those, who lost their loved ones and prayed for God’s comfort, healing and restoration to all those injured. 

The ECWA President urged the Church not to relent in praying to God for his divine intervention, inner strength and perseverance for the people of Plateau State “and let us hold unto God’s promises and fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.”

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