Sunday, March 31, 2013

Nigerian Plateau Killing Toll Hits 50

Plateau killings: Death toll hits 50

Our Reporter on March 31, 2013
Nigerian Nation

Two die in Gombe night attack

The death toll in the week-long orgy of killings by unknown gunmen in several villages around Jos, Plateau State has risen to 50.

This figure was confirmed by officials of the Special Task Force (STF) yesterday, as authorities pleaded for peace over the Easter holiday. The attacks came as a string of unsolved killings continue to plague the region that has seen thousands killed in massacres in recent years. While a combined police and military presence still patrols Jos and other parts of Plateau State, many of the villages attacked sit in remote, rural corners of the state.

The most recent killings happened on Friday night in the Barkin Ladi area, according to STF spokesman, Navy Lt. Jude Akpa.

Attackers raided Bokkos town and killed nine people, fleeing before soldiers arrived, Akpa said. Emmanuel Lohman, a government official, said gunmen armed with assault rifles struck a village called Ratas and opened fire in the night while many there were sleeping.

Witnesses said the shooting lasted for almost two hours before the attackers fled. The villagers blamed nomadic Hausa-Fulani cattle herdsmen for the attack.

Muhammadu Nura, the state secretary of the cattle breeders association, said Hausa-Fulani people had been killed in “reprisals” but denied herders were involved the attacks.

The figure of 50 people said to have been killed in attacks, includes an assault on Wednesday on a village in the Riyom local government area that killed 28 people and an attack on Thursday in the Bokkos local government area that killed 18 civilians. The military said it killed six while trying to repel attackers during the assault.

Meanwhile, the management committee chairman of Barkin Ladi local government area of Plateau State, Emmanuel Lohman, has commended the personnel of the Special Task Force on Jos crisis saying but for their constant patrols around the villages in the area there would have been another bloody night yesterday.

Loman who spoke in Jos yesterday while giving an update on the renewed killing of people by suspected hired Fulani gunmen said STF personnel prevented another round of bloody killings because of their constant patrol of the area.

The council chairman commended the STF personnel for their professional conduct, noting that the council will support them in the bid to rid the area of the killers.

Meanwhile, the Police in Gombe State have confirmed the killing of two people when gunmen attacked Kumo Police Division in Akko Local Government Area on Friday night.

The Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr Mohammed Sule, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Gombe that the dead were among the attackers.

He said the police recovered one AK 47 rifle and two motorcycles from the attackers.

“As far as I am concerned, none of my men was killed. What I know is that two of the attackers were killed and we recovered one AK 47 rifle and two motorcycles,” he said.

Sule, however, said he was expecting details of the incident since it occurred in the night.

He decried the lack of information from the public to enable the police to prevent such attacks.

Some residents of Kumo town told NAN on telephone that they heard sounds of gunshots when the attackers came in the night.

They said they could not sleep in the night because of the exchange of fire between the police and the attackers.

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