No fewer than 23 persons have been killed in Jos, Plateau State on Satuday morning following an outbreak of fresh violence along Rukuba road axis of the city.
It was gathered that corpses numbering at least 23 were conveyed in two Hilux vans from the crisis spot to Plateau Specialist Hospital mortuary.
Though the violence has been quelled by Soldiers drafted from the Special Task Force (STF) on security, the city is still enveloped in palpable fears and tension.
In the past two days, the Irigwe youths had repeatedly announced that they were conveying the corpses of their slain members for burial in Bassa on Saturday. They had set out in a convoy for the burial on Saturday morning when violence broke out along the way at Rukuba road.
As they went with the corpses, they met some vans conveying some Fulani along their way. The Fulani reportedly claimed they were commuters from Bauchi, but the angry youths challenged them seeing that Rukuba road does not connect Bauchi highway. They suspected that they may have come to attack them at the burial ground.
The youths allegedly pounced on the Fulani, injured some and killed others before the security agents could reach the spot. The violence began to escalate before the security agents arrested it.
Reacting to the fresh violence, the Governor of the state, Simon Lalong condemned the killings, especially as it involved innocent commuters, and immediately directed security agencies to swiftly identify and arrest the perpetrators while dominating the area to restore calm.
In a statement signed by his Director of Press, Simon Macham reads in part: “Governor Simon Bako Lalong has warned trouble makers bent on fomenting trouble in Plateau State to desist as the government will not allow any form of lawlessness to disrupt the peace of the State.
“Lalong said the attacks on innocent citizens no matter their backgrounds will never be tolerated in Plateau State and those who are found to be behind such attacks will be dealt with decisively to serve as deterrence and restore public order.
“The Governor however commends security agencies for their immediate response leading to the arrest of some suspects and the restoration of calm to the area.”
The Governor also commiserated with the families of those affected, and assured all law abiding citizens that security had been beefed up around the area as well as the entire metropolis to forestall further breach of the peace.
He reminded the citizens to remain vigilant and be security conscious in reporting suspicious persons and behaviour within their domains to enable law enforcement agencies to respond appropriately.
Lalong also directed the Secretary to the Government of the State, Prof. Danladi Atu to visit the areas and ascertain the situation as well as ensure that those injured received adequate medical attention.
The peace of the state has been troubled by series of skirmishes in recent times, leading to several deaths and destruction of properties, especially in Bassa and Riyom Local Government Areas. The Governor has repeatedly warned that violent merchants won’t be allowed to have their way in the state.
Meanwhile, the Plateau state government has imposed curfew in the three affected local governments areas ofJos North, Bassa and Jos South.
In a statement Governor Simon Bako Lalong said, “Sequel to the unfortunate breach of peace along Rukuba road, Jos North LGA on 14th August 2021, where a convoy of commuters was attacked leading to killing of innocent persons, I have received briefings on the situation from the relevant heads of security agencies”.
“The reports indicate that 23 of those attacked lost their lives while 23 persons sustained injuries and are currently receiving treatment. 26 others were rescued unhurt. So far, 20 suspects have been arrested and the security agencies are conducting investigations to get to the bottom of the matter”.
“Having reviewed the reports and monitored the unfolding scenario, Government is concerned about the persisting tensions and reported attempts by some persons to take the laws into their hands by threatening to attack individuals and private facilities, as well as public property”.
“In order to avoid further deterioration of the situation and to protect lives and properties of citizens, I have directed the imposition of curfew on Jos North, Bassa and Jos South Local Governments commencing 6pm to 6am from today, 14th August 2021”.
“The curfew shall remain in place subject to further review by the State Security Council”.
“All citizens are therefore directed to abide by the directive to enable security personnel maintain law and order in the affected areas and deal with those attempting to foment trouble by taking advantage of the situation to perpetrate crime”.
“The Government will continue to monitor the unfolding situation and take further necessary measures to ensure the safety of lives and properties”.
“While I deeply sympathize with the families of those who lost their loved ones, and those injured in the unfortunate event, I call for calm and appeal to our citizens to avoid any action or utterances that will further inflame the situation”.
“This is purely a criminal conduct and should not be given any ethnic or religious colouration”.
“Let us continue to be vigilant and be security conscious and do everything possible to sustain n peace and security of the State.God bless Plateau State”.