By Taye OBATERU, Jos
One student of the Jos Campus of the Plateau State Polytechnic was killed and six others were injured following a clash between the students and security men over a man alleged to have been caught with explosives and arms by the students.
It was another tense day for many residents of the troubled city as the students went on rampage to express their dissatisfaction with the handling of the case of the arrested man by security men.
They barricaded the highway in front of their campus smashing car windscreens as they chanted war songs to denounce the security men.
It was learnt that trouble started after some students accosted a man who was seen with a bag around their campus located in Hwolshe area, which they suspected might contain dangerous weapons.
The argument that ensued was said to have attracted a crowd which in turn attracted the security men around the area.
An eye witness told Vanguard that the security men sought to take the â€˜suspectâ€™ away to search the bag, but the students refused insisting that the search must be conducted openly.
The security men subsequently invited the village head of the area and along with some representatives of the students, took the man who another witness said looked in sane, to a location away from the crowd where the bag was searched.
According to the eyewitness, only food items like garri and other things were found in the bag, but when this was announced to the students, they alleged foul play and took to the streets.
News immediately spread round that a man had been arrested with explosives and guns, sending many residents into panic.
The dead and the others injured were reportedly hit by bullets from security men while trying to disperse the rampaging students. The injured students are currently receiving treatment at the Plateau Specialist Hospital.
Meanwhile, acting Rector of the Polytechnic, Mr. Dauda Gyemang who was seen at the hospital yesterday afternoon, has appealed to the students to remain calm and avoid taking any action that could result in more deaths.
Contacted on phone, spokesman of Plateau Police Command, Mohammed Lerama confirmed learning of the incident but said he was yet to get details.
General Officer Commanding Three Armoured Division, Major General Saleh Maina who also heads the special task force over-seeing security in the state confirmed in a telephone interview that his men rescued a man that was to be mobbed by students of the polytechnic and some youths of Hwolshe.
He said only bread, garri and crumpled papers were found in the bag after a search contrary to the allegation that he had explosives.
He said his men had to use firearms â€œto save the life of the man about to be lynched; we have no right to take life. We are here to protect.â€ He said the suspect had been handed over to the police for further investigation and advised journalists to contact the police if in need of more information.