By Taye Obateru, Sam Eyoboka & Kingsley Omonobi
JOSâ€”FOURTEEN people were again brutally murdered in Plateau State, yesterday; this time, at Byei village in Riyom Local Government Area by suspected Fulani men. The attack was similar to the one launched on Dogon Nahawa village last week.
A 55-year old woman had earlier been shot dead at Fan village in Barkin-Ladi Local Government Area, Monday, where the attackers reportedly made away with about 170 cows belonging to one Pam Adamu. Among the six females killed in the attack was a pregnant woman who was burnt with another child strapped to her back. Three men and four children were also gruesomely murdered, some with their throats slit open. Five other people who were injured have been taken to the Vom Christian Hospital for treatment.
Eye witnesses said the attack was launched at about 1.00 a.m., with the attackers setting fire to the houses and attacking the people as they ran out.
A survivor, Yohanna Dalyop, said he saw at least one of the attackers in military uniform. The villagers said they alerted security men but got no help until the attackers left.
Jang receivesÂ PFN members
Governor Jonah Jang bemoaned the situation when he received a delegation of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, PFN, led by the National President, Ayo Oritsejafor, saying there was clear evidence that certain interest groups from within and outside the country were sponsoring the crisis.
The governor who regretted that some people saw the violence as a money making venture and were enriching themselves with the blood of the people, prayed God to expose those behind the unending violence.
Stressing that there was a plan against the state by some key people in the country, Jang noted that the battle was not Plateauâ€™s alone but that of the nation as a whole.
He said: â€œI had a meeting with the GOC and others three days ago and just today again, there was another attack. We cannot continue like this. Something must be done because when the people feel they cannot be protected, they will arise and protect themselves and that will not be good for the nation.
â€œEvery morning the first thing I receive is bad news just like it happened this morning. You get depressed and broken by some of this news before you regain your strength again. Plateau is really under a siege.â€
The governor urged the church to arise and declare that something has to be done to stop the violence, adding that the youth in the state were getting agitated by the happenings and it could get to a stage where they would get out of control.
Earlier the PFN President commiserated with the governor, government and people of the state over the happenings, stressing that the state would come out better after the storm.
Oritsejafor said: â€œWe have come to say to you that youâ€™re not alone at this time. Weâ€™ve come to say to you that we identify with your pain and sorrow and all that has been happening. We will never turn our back on you and on the state. We believe that just as this state was known for peace, it would once again be celebrated for peace.â€
The team also visited the Gbong Gwom Jos, Da Jacob Gyang Buba to express similar sentiments.
Meanwhile, member representing Riyom constituency in the Plateau State House of Assembly, Mr. Emmannuel Damboyi Jugul has said that his people have lost confidence in the ability of the security men posted to the area to protect them.
Reacting to yesterdayâ€™s attack on Byei village, Jugul said it was unbelievable that the attack took place despite the presence of three security posts in Riyom area.
Jugul who noted that the people were tired of insecurity despite the presence of security men, stressed that it would have been better for the security to be withdrawn for the people to defend themselves.
He said: â€œI want to say on behalf of my people that we donâ€™t need soldiers here any longer. I cannot imagine that there are four security posts in Riyom and yet this has happened to our people. Some of the villagers said they saw people in uniform among the attackers. We want the military to be withdrawn so that we can defend ourselves.â€
State Commissioner for Information and Communication, Gregory Yenlong, admitted that the state was facing serious security challenges noting that the attack took the same pattern as the one on Dogon Nahawa.
He urged the people to be security conscious to avoid being massacred again adding that government would continue to do its best to protect the people.
Security task force arrests seven
Meanwhile, the Special Task Force in charge of security in the state said seven of the assailants have been arrested stressing that they averted what would have been another massacre at Byei and Baten communities.
A statement by Brigadier General Donald Oji, said yesterday â€œbut for the timely intervention of troops deployed at Riyom area, carnage would have been carried out in the two communities.â€
The statement said three locally made shot guns with cartridges, bow and arrows, machetes, knives and cutlasses were recovered from those arrested, adding: â€œthe Special Task Force wishes to re-assure law abiding members of the public that it will continue to carry out its duties effectively within the ambits of the law and will not spare any one or group whose conduct or activities are capable of inciting further violence on the Plateau.â€
While calling for restraint from members of the public, the special task force said they should avoid utterances capable of causing disaffection.
The Plateau State Governor, Jonah Jang, has similarly called for calm and restraint over the attack on the two villages in Riyom Local Government Area.
In a statement signed by his Director of Press and Public Affairs, James Mannok, the governor said government was taking necessary measures to unmask the perpetrators and bring them to justice.
Police deploy AIG, more Mobile police squadrons for security
Following fresh attacks by Fulani herdsmen in the Riyom area of Jos, the Police High Command has deployed an Assistant Inspector General of Police to oversee security operations in the state with immediate effect. He is AIG Donald Onyinye Iroham.
Yesterdayâ€™s deployment of AIG Iroham to Jos, was coming on the heels of more deployments of Mobile Police Squadrons from the Force headquarters and neighbouring states to Plateau following heightened fear and unease pervading the entire state.
Vanguard gathered that the choice of AIG Iroham for the job followed his wide experience garnered during his sojourn as Police Commissioner that saw him posted to such states as Kano, Ondo, Anambra, Kwara and Imo states during which he performed creditably.
The officer, who was also decorated yesterday, was the immediate past Commissioner of Police in charge of Border Patrol at Force headquarters and is to resume at Markudi as the AIG Zone 4, after the Jos assignment. He is taking over from AIG Mohammed Abass, who has proceeded on retirement.
Confirming Irohamâ€™s deployment, Force Public Relations officer, ACP Emmanuel Ojukwu said theÂ IGP, Ogbonna Onovo was determined to ensure that these attacks were brought to an end hence the decision to send a senior officer to take over.