In a tragic turn of events, at least 43 people have lost their lives in two days of intense clashes in the town of Mangu, located in Plateau state, central Nigeria. The violence erupted following a dispute over cattle, igniting existing ethnic and religious tensions in the region.
Residents in Mangu, have reported the grim aftermath of the clashes. One man recounted the heartbreaking loss of his 63-year-old brother. He was killed in his home and his six children are now left mourning. The town is predominantly composed of residents from the Muslim Fulani and Christian Mwagaful ethnic groups.
The dispute began on Tuesday when a conflict over cattle ownership spiralled out of control. This led to widespread violence and destruction. A hundred houses have been reported burnt down. The violence has taken a toll on religious establishments, with seven mosques and four churches destroyed.
Umar Haruna, a Fulani businessman caught in the crossfire, lost his life as his home was attacked. His brother, Abdullahi Haruna, described the devastating scene, mentioning that Umar’s body was burnt alongside the house. This also led to the prevention of the customary Muslim corpse bath due to the extent of the damage.
Dagen Emmanuel Bello, an ethnic Magwaful, recounted witnessing dead bodies on the streets and buildings engulfed in flames. The unrest has left a trail of destruction, with ongoing efforts to search for hidden bodies.
The clashes prompted the imposition of a 24-hour curfew on Tuesday. Unfortunately, it did not quell the violence, which continued on Wednesday. Despite the deployment of soldiers to Mangu, reports suggest that their presence remained on main roads, with limited intervention in the suburban areas where revenge attacks persisted.
This recent outbreak of violence in Plateau state mirrors a grim pattern, as more than 100 lives were lost in similar clashes in another part of the state during the Christmas period. The recurring cycle of unrest raises concerns about the need for sustainable solutions to address the underlying issues contributing to these tragic incidents.