Empty village

28.02.2024 Featured LIFE AFTER APOCALYPSE: Empty Villages, Abandoned Farmlands… Plateau Residents on Edge After Christmas Eve Attack

Published 28th Feb, 2024

By Emmanuel Uti

Between December 2 and 14, 2023, the people of Horom village in the Barkin Ladi Local Government Area of Plateau State were attacked twice by the Fulani marauders. But their strong resistance to the enemy preserved them together as a village until December 24, when the blood-spilling Fulani attackers, along with their machinery, brought the apocalypse to the settlement.

Today, the once lively village, where kindred souls dwelt in peace, shares almost the same features as a forgotten habitation.

With no sign of human footprints or vehicular tyre prints on the road, burnt roofs, charred interiors of houses, blackened walls, fallen aluminium rooftops, broken walls and emptiness tell not only a menacing tale of the magnitude of the attacks launched by the Fulani on the Horom people but also the resulting response of the victims.

The interior of the burnt COCIN church in Horom, Bokkos, as of January 15
The interior of the burnt COCIN church in Horom, Bokkos, as of January 15 Photo credit: Emmanuel Uti/FIJ

Except for an aged man who could not run for dear life because he was heavily under the influence of alcohol, no one from Horom was killed. However, the youths who resisted the Fulani fled because the Fulani outnumbered them and had more sophisticated weapons.

The exterior of the burnt COCIN church in Horom as of January 15
The exterior of the burnt COCIN church in Horom as of January 15 Photo credit: Emmanuel Uti/FIJ

Whether or not the people may come back to reclaim their land is a matter of whether the government intervenes, says Jeffery Yenle, a young farmer from Horom, who now resides in Kuba following the horror that wreaked havoc in his village.

A section of burnt houses in Horom
A section of burnt houses in Horom Photo credit: Emmanuel Uti/FIJ

“We’re scattered everywhere. Our women and girls are either at the IDP camps in Bokkos or with their friends in other areas,” Yenle told FIJ. “The men are also scattered everywhere, although we sometimes go check on our village. Many of us will not return until the rainy season starts. I hope everything will have died down by then.”


It is not easy for the people of Miyanga to assume they would be safe in their ancestral lands after 13 of their people were gruesomely killed in the December attacks. After the major attack, some others have been killed, thus making it harder for the Miyanga villagers to want to return to their village even though they so wish.

As of January, when this reporter visited the village, it was noticeably scanty. Many of the roofs in the village had been razed, and many houses were burned. Still, a few older men and women were present. Some of them had come to scavenge their houses for whatever valuables they could find. This was, of course, because of the manned presence of the mobile police.

An Abandoned pharmacy in Miyanga
An Abandoned pharmacy in Miyanga Photo credit: Emmanuel Uti/FIJ

But the presence of the mobile police officers would not totally allay their fears, although they admitted it’d been helpful. News of people getting killed was still present among the now dispersed residents, Dickong Mutong, the village spokesperson, said.

“In the first week of February, the Fulani killed one person on the farm. So, people are scared of coming back,” Mutong told FIJ. “Many of the villagers who have come back only did so because they were left with no choice. If they had the means, they would never return.”

Mutong said that after some of his fellow villagers hid in IDP camps when the attacks were still fresh, the ones without means returned to the village in fear with their kids.

“Even at that, our village is still scanty. Many of them come and stay in the village for two days, then leave the village only to return. I am sure that if they had money, some of them would not come back,” he said.

“Even if they wanted to return fully, the destruction of their farms by the Fulani herders who have now taken their cattle for grazing on the land is a demotivator.”


After the horror Darwt experienced, the villagers are scared of returning to the village. For many of them, there is quite no point because they would have to start their lives all over and are still unsure of their safety.

When this reporter visited on January 15, only seven men were in the village, and they were hiding. After they observed this reporter loitering alongside their fixer, the men came out of their hiding place, convinced that this reporter could not have been a member of the group that attacked them twice in December.

After one of them had narrated what happened and how they were attacked, they pleaded with this reporter to get the government to come to their aid by inviting a strong security presence in their village. Sunday Dennis, a resident, believes that without the presence of neutral security men, his people will never fully return to their village.

A house partly destroyed in Darwt by the attackers
A house partly destroyed in Darwt by the attackers
Photo credit: Emmanuel Uti/FIJ

It is part of why he thinks that the reason his village is not booming with people as it used to be is because many of them are scared of returning after escaping the hand of death by a whisker in December.

“Apart from the fact that people are scared, many of them don’t know what to do with their lives. Some people’s houses have been destroyed, and they have no property that can be put in a house. The fear of starting all over in a place where something can reoccur seems off-putting for many of them,” Dennis told FIJ.

“I have no mattress. But where else can I go? This is why I will fight to remain in my village. And I pray that the government comes to our aid so that we can have reasons to stay in the land of our fathers.”


Dennis told FIJ that the presence of the mobile police in his village had given some people a reason to return to the village to start all over. He said this was because the mobile police officers were efficient and were not Fulani-populated like the soldiers who had visited neighbouring villages in recent times.

“People trust in the mobile police officers. We only need their presence in neighbouring villages as well. That way, we’ll be sure these attackers will avoid us for a long time. We need their presence here,” he said.

READ ALSO: Women Set Fire to Community Head’s Home, Office Over Possible Connections to Plateau Attackers

Jeffery Yenle of Horom agreed with Dennis that the presence of mobile police officers stationed in his community and other neighbouring communities would prevent the possibility of possible future attacks.

But this might not be entirely possible because the mobile police officers will only remain in the communities affected by the attack until the area is deemed safe.

Burnt and abandoned houses in Tuje, Bokkos
Burnt and abandoned houses in Tuje, Bokkos Photo credit: Emmanuel Uti/FIJ

A mobile police officer stationed in Chirang village in Bokkos LGA told this reporter that their job was to man the affected villages for some time and ensure that they were safe.

“We’re not going to be permanently here. We were told that we would be here until peace returned to the village. When everywhere is safe, we will then return to Abuja,” he told FIJ.

The fear that the mobile police officers will not be permanent in the community has been considered. For this reason, many of the villagers in the affected communities want the government to build barracks for mobile police officers in Bokkos and Barkin Ladi LGAs.

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Published 28th Feb, 2024

By Emmanuel Uti


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