By Seriki Adinoyi in Jos

The military taskforce deployed to beef up security in the community recently attacked by suspected herdsmen in Plateau State yesterday said it had killed five assailants while repelling another attack on a village near Ancha in Bassa Local Government Area of the state, where over 20 persons were killed on Friday.

A soldier with the taskforce was also killed in the exchange fire, while another was shot on the leg and is presently responding to treatment at the taskforce clinic.

The taskforce Media and Information Officer, Captain Adam Umar, said: “Apart from the five that were killed by our men, some others were injured. But the thing with these assailants is that they don’t leave their dead, they run away with them.”

Umar added: “We also lost one of our men and another was injured and he’s now responding to treatment. The Miango area is fully dominated by men, who have since commenced day and night patrol and are combing the area in search of the assailants.

Meanwhile, the state chapter of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) has decried linking their members to the recent killings in Ancha village, describing it as “a cheap blackmail.”

A statement by the Chairman and Legal adviser of MACBAN, Nuru Abdullahi and Salihu Muhammad, respectively, added that such “unfounded allegation” was aimed at creating hatred between the natives and herders, adding that the state Police Commissioner, Peter Ogunyanwo, was biased in his statement that alleged that the attack was a reprisal by suspected Fulani herders.

MACBAN said: “It wasn’t our people that carried out the attack and we don’t know the hoodlums that did it. We don’t know why the outgoing Plateau State Police Commissioner, Peter Ogunyanwo, developed hatred against us by apportioning the blame on us.

“The Fulani are not ready for any bloodshed, which was why they wrote a letter to complain to the police after the killing of their boy.

Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state has accused the Governor Simon Lalong of insensitivity to the plight of the villagers.

In a statement signed by the state Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr. John Akans, the party said it was amazed that rather than going to commiserate with the traumatised community, undertake an assessment of the level of destruction, and initiate actions against the killers, the governor preferred to watch and celebrate a football match at about the same time.

“It was our wish that the state governor had undertaken an on-the-spot assessment of the area to comfort the traumatised community and initiate action against the killers. But he appeared to have had a better priority in celebrating a football trophy at about the same time,” the statement added.