“We Lost 20 Church Members To Attackers While Preparing For Christmas Service” – Plateau Cleric Narrates Ordeal


Evangelist John Mahan from Mabor, one of the survivors of the terrorist attacks on several Plateau State communities on Christmas Eve, has recounted a harrowing incident. He described how the attackers killed 20 members of his church while they were preparing to hold a vigil ahead of Christmas.

No fewer than 30 communities across the Bokkos, Mangu, and Barkin Ladi local government areas in Plateau State were attacked on Sunday and Monday, leading to the death of over 200 people, and burning of over 1000 houses in Bokkos Local Government Area alone.

Meanwhile, 88 persons were injured and hospitalised.

According to Vanguard, in his own account, Evangelist John Mahan said, “It was Christmas Eve and we were preparing for a vigil in the Church which was to start by 6pm.

“By 5.30pm, I was in the Church to prepare when I heard sounds of gunshots. We came out to check the direction of the gunshots, and that was when we saw people running that neighbouring communities like Lunghai, Tahore, Chirang, Tamiso, and others were under attack.

“We had to start looking a safe place but before we knew it, gunshots were just everywhere. As I speak with you, my personal friend and more than 20 members of our Church were killed and the communities destroyed.”

From December 23rd to 25th, several communities across the three local government areas were razed. These communities include Mutfet, Ndun, Sanyan, Kyong, Kop Mandarken, Lunghai, Chirang, Makundang, Fashar, Garau, Mbong, Tahore, Tamiso, Wang, Hirpiya, Butura Kampani, Maijankai, Dares, Kamluk, Sundul, Garah Mushere, Kambar Mupeli, Mbar Fiton, Daruwat, Hurum, Mai Yanga, NTV, Lar’apya and others.

One of the survivors, Mrs Uren Matthew who lost her son in the incident said, “I am from Chirang, we were preparing for Christmas which we never celebrated. We heard that Fulani were attacking many communities, so we were apprehensive. When night fell, we were preparing to go and hide near the stream but we did not know they were there already.

“As we got there, they swooped on us and there was confusion as everyone was running. I got a cut on my hand as I was trying to block the machete they were using on us. My son and I were attacked so we pretended to be dead.

“My son was also quiet for some time, but as he made an effort to crawl away, they noticed that he was not dead so they used a stone to hit him on the head and he died. I only survived because I pretended that I was dead so they left me.”

Mercy Makut from the same community said she also ran to the same stream area to hide but she met her attackers there “They were shooting some people and cutting others with machete. I also received a cut on my hand. As I was trying to run, my two-month-old baby fell from my back and I did not even know that the baby had fallen off my back.

“A woman in the village helped me to pick the baby, so as I was making an effort to go back to the stream to find my baby, someone advised me not to take the risk but I thank God as I was making my way there, I was told that one woman picked the baby. I later found the baby and we were brought to the hospital.”

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