A peace advocacy group in Plateau State has condemned the recent attack in Irigwe Community of Bassa Local Government Area of the state.
The Coalition of Plateau Peace Practitioners Network (COPPPN), an indigenous group, while describing the development as barbaric and heartless, appealed to those sabotaging the peace efforts in Plateau State to give peace a chance.
Describing the act as retrogressive to the ongoing peace efforts by the state government, the group appealed to security agencies to apply pressure on efforts to apprehend the criminals and bring them before the law.
It also commended security officers for their swift response during the incident, affirming that the quick intervention of security men brought the situation under control.
A statement, signed by the National Coordinator of the group, Dr Daniel Babale Andruwus, and National Secretary, Mrs Lucy Nyami, sympathised with families of the victims, the government and people of Plateau State over the dastardly act.
The group, however, said contrary to claims in some quarters that the attack was a genocide, its investigation showed that it was rather a reprisal attack.
Following the attack on the community, the Irigwe Development Community had in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Davidson Malison, accused Operation Safe Haven and the state’s internal military of conniving with headsmen to perpetrate the act.
But the Coalition faulted the claims, saying besides being a reprisal, the attack was promptly responded to by OPSH.
“We condemn in the strongest terms the barbaric senseless and uncivilized attacks, and reprisal between suspected Fulani herdsmen and Irigwe militias groups in Bassa Local Government Area of Plateau State, which led to the death of some persons and burning down of houses.
“This act is sad and retrogressive. Our hearts go to the families of those who lost their lives and properties in this unfortunate incident,” the statement said.
“Information available to us indicates that if not for the prompt response of men of Operation Safe Haven, the casualty figure of this needless attack and this reprisal attack would have been alarming.
“We, however, wish to caution some individuals, organizations, tribal and religious bigots as well as some crises merchants who rather than speak the truth in times like this, would rather criminalize only one group of people as the aggressors and blame security agencies for their actions
The advocacy group appealed to Irigwe people to call out the criminals rather than blame security agencies for the crisis.
“As a professional group, we will not take sides with any group or persons no matter the sentiments and emotions. We will continue to speak the whole truth so that peace can reign.
The Coalition maintained that the only way genuine peace can be achieved is through sincerity and truthfully calling out those who are guilty of violence no matter who is involved.
” Our community leaders from all sides must take responsibility for their youths and hand over the criminals to the security agencies otherwise we will continue to go round this cycle of violence and crisis,” it advised.