By Daniel Idonor
ABUJAâ€”Governor Jonah Jang of Plateau State yesterday has blamed theÂ ArmyÂ leadership in Plateau state forÂ the fresh violence that erupted in the state leading to theÂ death of several hundred of people mostly women and childrenÂ as he maintained that violence was not a reprisal attack, saying that the last incident in Kurujenta community affected both Christians and Muslims.
Fielding questions from State House Correspondents after the National Economic Council, NEC, meeting, Governor Jang stated that it was wrong for anybody to ascribe reprisal to the fresh bloodbath on the plateau over the last incident, saying that fulanis were not the residents of Kurujenta.
â€œYes we were caught unawares, the present attack I donâ€™t know for what but what was written in Daily Trust today tried to justify it as a reprisal attack for what happened in Kurujenta on January 17, 2010.
â€œTo the best of my knowledge what happened in Kurujenta I donâ€™t think Fulanis were involved for what happened in Kurujenta. If you look at the houses that were burnt in Kurujenta, Kurujenta is a tin-mining camp, and houses burnt there, I mean everybody who lived there was involved.
â€œYou could not say it was one-sided because the houses that were burnt cut-across, which means the killings were cut-across. But what happened there, some people moved Aljazeera there, and then covered dead bodies and start labeling them.
â€œWhen you cover dead bodies and start labeling them, who knew who you are covering? And then today Daily Trust was saying it was because of what happened in Kurujenta, because Fulanis were killed in Kurujenta. Fulanis donâ€™t live in Kurujenta.
â€œAnd so to say it was a reprisal for what happened in Kurujenta was a distortion of facts. We know that what happened was that some people came across the border of Plateau State and started attacking villages, because nobody within Plateau got to these villages and started attacking them.
â€œI received reports at about 9.0 p.m. on the evening that some movement of people with arms was seen around those villages, and I reported to the commander of the army and he told me he was going to move some troops there, and because it is near where I live, I even saw a tank pass through my house and I thought it was going towards that area.
â€œThree hours or so later, I was woken by a call that they have started burning the villages and people were being hacked to death and I started trying to locate the commanders but I couldnâ€™t get any of them on the telephone.
So this attack could have been avoided if they (army) had acted on my security report.
â€œYou are asking what am I doing, I have said it several times, and statesâ€™ governors are highly incapacitated. You are the chief security officer of a state; you donâ€™t command even a fly. What do you use to stop anything? Security report that I gave, I didnâ€™t even get that security report officially; it was the villagers themselves that saw the movements and reported. I didnâ€™t receive any security report about what was going to happen.
â€œSo the security people should have to double up their efforts, particularly the army that said they have now taken over security in Plateau State because the police are unable to cope. I expect that the army should live up to expectations and stop the carnage in Plateau, if they cannot, then they should as well get out of the placeâ€.