Suspected Fulani herdsmen on Wednesday, invaded a mining site in Jol community in Riyom Local Government Area of Plateau State and attacked local miners.
No fewer than nine miners were critically injured in the attack. A local miner who escaped the attack said that the incident occurred at about 8:20 am when herdsmen allegedly from Guava/Mahanga area of the local government descended heavily on the miners working at a mining site.
“The suspected herdsmen armed with dangerous weapons invaded the mining site violently, they injured nine persons while two others are battling for life at the State General Hospital in Barkin-Ladi. They claimed that the natives have no right to mine the filed on the premise that it belongs to them,” he said.
“The attack was a shock to us, we have been on this mining field for long and the land belongs to us. We are surprised over the claim that it was a conquered area and that we have no right to carry out mining activities there without permission. To us this is an expansionist agenda,” he said.
According to him, the miners numbering about 20 had to scamper for safety while they took over the mining site until security operatives arrived the scene.
Spokesperson of th State Poice Command, ASP Gabriel Ubah, who confirmed the incident, said it was as a result of a misunderstanding between some youths and Fulani in the area.
“It was a misunderstanding between some youths and the Fulanis but it was curtailed. The police are there presently. Those that have minor injuries have been taken care of. The police are there at the moment and everywhere is calm for now,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Management Committee Chairman of Riyom Local Government Area of Plateau State, Hon. Mafeng Gwalson has condemned the clash between the two groups.
He applauded the Nigerian Police and personnel of the Operation Safe Haven for their swift action in arresting the situation from degenerating into a major problem.
Speaking to journalists on Wednesday in Jos, Hon. Gwalson said the Management of the Local Government and security agencies will not allowed crises merchants to take the council area to the dark days where killings and destruction of crops and properties was a phenomenon.
“In the past two weeks, we have had people who have intentionally tried to returned the local government back to crisis period by destroying crops in the farm,” he said.
“It has happened in jol, Kwi, Wereng, Sopp and in Tahoss community. Also, on Wednesday, some miners went to the field for mining and were attacked by some Fulani youths who told them not to mine that the area is their cattle route.
“As we speak, I don’t have details of what happened but I am happy that the security agencies have gone to secure the communities and have started making arrest.
“I appeal to our people to be calm and support what the security agencies are doing and I am sure that we will get the perpetrators and take them to court to get justice.”