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Jos rocked by killings again

Violence continued in Plateau State on Monday evening as 18 people were killed and four others seriously injured by suspected herdsmen in three villages in Riyom Local Government Area. Seventeen houses were also said to have been set ablaze by the herdsmen in the villages. Thirteen of the victims were killed at Kuru Tasha (Wareng) by the herdsmen who allegedly wore military uniforms. Two were killed in Fagawang village and three in Nyanwai. As the news of the incident filtered into Jos on Tuesday, the Igbo Community Association in the state claimed that 40 Igbo traders had been killed in an attack by youths in Dilimi Market last Saturday.

Our correspondent gathered that the herdsmen stormed the villages in commando fashion and killed the 18 people said to be members of three families.

“Most of the victims were women and children. Some of them had their throats and abdomen slit while others received machete cuts,” a source said just as a middle aged man was arrested within the premises of the state House of Assembly with suspected explosive device.

The Commissioner of Police, Plateau State Command, Mr. Abdulrahaman Akano, who confirmed the attack to our correspondent on Tuesday, said that investigation had commenced with a “view to arresting and bringing the perpetrators to book.”

The ICA, at a news conference, claimed that it identified and deposited at least 40 corpses of Igbo traders at the Bingham Teaching Hospital, Jos and the Jos University Teaching Hospital mortuaries.

It added that while some injured traders were receiving treatment, scores of others were missing.

The ICA President-General, Chief Richard Wayas, who read the text of the press briefing, said accounts have it that some commercial motorcyclists cordoned off the entire Dilimi area up to the Terminus roundabout while the killings of the traders were going on.

Wayas said, “As at the last count, we have over 40 corpses of our people deposited at the BUTH and JUTH mortuaries with several hospitalised and others still missing.

‘Eyewitness account revealed that Hausa/Fulani youths cordoned off the entire Dilimi area up to terminus roundabout with countless number of their commercial motorcycles while the killings of our people were going on at Dilimi and Bauchi road.”

He added that a luxury bus carrying mostly Igbo passengers was also attacked and burnt by the youths along Bauchi road.

The ICA president wondered why men of the Special Task Force in Jos watched with indifference while the hoodlums burnt down a bus conveying innocent Nigerians to Yola and called for an overhaul of the security apparatus in the state.

Alleging that some ‘political merchants’ were working to ensure that Plateau State remained very volatile, he condemned the arrest of Igbo traders for trying to protect their property during the attack.

He said that the Igbo in the state would continue to observe their sit-at-home protest until the federal and Plateau State governments ensured that justice was done.

“We may have to relocate our shops unless the federal and the state governments ensured that justice is done. Our people were not involved in the violence; they were simply defending their shops,’’ Wayas said.

The ICA President, who called on security agents in the state to release them without further delay, urged the state and federal governments to live up to their responsibilities by bringing the lingering crises in the state to an end.

The state government has, however, condemned the violence that led to deaths and destruction of property in Jos, Bukuru and other parts of the state.

The government, in a statement issued at the end the state security council meeting on Monday, expressed regret at the involvement of underage boys in the disturbances that affected some parts of Jos and Bukuru in the last 48 hours.

The statement by the Permanent Secretary in charge of Security, Mr. Istifanus Gyang, also flayed the attack on travellers and directed the STF and police to properly secure all the highways and other roads in the state.

“The council observed with great concern the effects of rumour, misrepresentation of facts and exaggeration mostly peddled through GSM and some media houses as some of the factors responsible for the resurgence of violence in the state,” the statement added.

The council, which advised residents of the state to desist from acts that could spur further violence, resolved to ensure that those arrested in connection with the series of violence in the state were prosecuted.

Meanwhile, a middleaged man was on Tuesday arrested by security operatives attached to the state House of Assembly with an explosive device.

The device was said to have been concealed in pieces of clothes found in a black polythene bag the suspect was carrying.

The Inspector-General of Police, Mr Hafiz Ringim, has described the crises in Jos as a “community/political problem’’ and urged residents to resolve them without resorting to violence.

Ringim made the plea in a statement issued on Tuesday by the Force Public Relations Officer, Mr. Olusola Amore.

He said, “The crisis in Jos should not be seen as a police/security problem but a community/political problem which all peace loving people should strive to resolve without resorting to rancour.

“Nigerians should learn to live together in peace in spite of differences in tribe, language and religion.”

Ringim, however, assured the people of the state and its environs of 24-hour security to forestall the breakdown of law and order in Jos.

He said the police and other security agencies had been doing their best to contain the crisis.

The police boss said 15,000 policemen and other security personnel had so far been deployed in Jos to restore peace since the crisis began.

Ringim also said four policemen and 57 other persons had been killed in the crisis while eight suspects were arrested in connection with the violence.

The STF spokesman, Capt. Charles Ekeocha, had earlier on Tuesday told the News Agency of Nigeria, that there had been a “very great improvement’’ in the security situation in the state.

He said,” As at last night, there were no shootings reported to us; our men were engaged in aggressive patrols and that has made the situation indeed better.

“I can say with confidence that things are calming down. But I must also point out that the security situation in Jos can be very unpredictable with calm in one minute and violence in the other. I believe, however, that things are getting better than yesterday.’’


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Posted by on Jan 11 2011. Filed under Plateau, State News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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