INDEPENDENT NEWS

Cablegate: Nigeria: Renewed Violence in Eastern Plateau State

Published: Wed 9 Oct 2002 06:30 AM
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS ABUJA 002809
SIPDIS
SENSITIVE
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PINS ASEC CASC NI
SUBJECT: NIGERIA: RENEWED VIOLENCE IN EASTERN PLATEAU STATE
1. (SBU) At approximately 16:00 on October 8, Conoff received
a report from an AmCit in Jos of ethnic fighting in eastern
Plateau State. According to the AmCit, the fighting that had
flared a few days ago in the Local Government Areas (LGAs)of
Langtang and Pankshin had rekindled with greater intensity.
The conflict essentially pits pastoral Fulani against farmers
from various other groups but has taken on a distinct
inter-ethnic tinge. The Plateau State government has
downplayed the scope and severity of the reported violence.
When we tried to confirm the reports, Gabriel Makan, PA to
Governor Dariye, denied any outbreaks of violence on October
8. We find the AmCit more credible than Makan.
2. (U) According to the Amcit, small villages around Langtang
and Pankshin were most affected by the fighting. (Pankshin is
about 85 km South East of Jos and Lantang is about 130 km
South East of Jos.) The Amcit also reported fighting in
Bukuru, about 12 kilometers southwest of Jos, had taken place
the morning of October 7. Some distance from the both
Pankshin and Langtang, the Bukuru violence may not be related
to the incidents at the other locations. However, it
demonstrates that portions of Plateau State remain volatile,
and unrest can easily be sparked in these areas.
3. (SBU) Governor Dariye's Assistant Makan confirmed the
village of Kumkwan in Kanam LGA had been substantially
destroyed but insisted the destruction occurred October 1.
Makan further asserted the conflict in Kumkwan was between
the ethnically related Tarok and Bagam tribes; Fulani were
not involved. (Note: The Plateau State Government has
publicly stated that order was restored days ago; However,
the Amcit report contradicts this. In fact, it indicates
that the situation in the eastern part of the state may have
deteriorated, perhaps due to reprisal attacks by those caught
on the defensive in the earlier unrest. End Note.)
4. (SBU) According to Makan, Bukuru was the site of a minor
incident on October 6. The State Government has plans to
erect a permanent market but shop owners protested when their
make-shift stores were demolished to make room for the
permanent structure. Makan stated the police quickly
restored order and no lives were lost. Bukuru is close to
the Abuja-Akwanga-Jos highway.
4. (U) Plateau State is home to a significant number of
AmCits, mainly missionaries, and Post will continue to
monitor the situation and report any new developments.
5. (U) There were no reports of any Amcits caught in the
unrest.
JETER
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