Eighteen people, including a baby, were killed when Fulani militants attacked the predominantly Christian Irigwe village of Ancha in Plateau State, Nigeria in the early hours of 12 January.
The two-hour onslaught on the community in the Bassa Local Government Area (LGA) began after midnight, injuring six villagers. Houses were razed, while several cars, motorcycles and stores of harvested crops were either stolen or destroyed.
Sixteen of the dead were members of the Salama Baptist Church, part of the Bethel Baptist Association.
A spokesman for the Irigwe Development Association condemned the attack, describing the killing of three-month-old Monday Bitrus as “an act of inhumanity to man”.
The other victims were named as Gideon Goh, aged 30; Danladi James, 26; Yohanna Musa, 17; Achi Alhaji, 16; Monday Abba, 52; Musa Tegwi, 80; Christiana Sunday, 45; Laraba Bitrus, 38; Andrew Bitrus, 7; Wiki Bitrus, 5; Danjuma Rimbe, 10; Monday B Bitrus, 19; Moses Weyi, 21; Mbe Zamfaru, 72; Azumi Awre, 72; Danladi David, 28, and Garus Sunday, 35.
Describing the attack, Nuhu Bitrus, a local youth leader, said gunmen “started shooting everywhere and killing anyone they saw in sight, while setting people’s houses on fire”.
Plateau State Governor Simon Lalong expressed deep sadness and described the attack as another sad tale in the unending cycle of violence in the area, which, he said, had continued despite measures taken by the government.
The attack on Ancha is the latest in a wave of violence against the Irigwe community in Bassa LGA that has led to calls for urgent government action to prevent the “genocide” of the Irigwe people. In November 2021 twelve people were killed in two separate attacks by suspected Fulani militants.