By Taye Obateru &Austin Ogwuda
Jos — Several families in Jos, the Plateau State capital and Benin City in Edo State were thrown into mourning on Sunday as 15 people were killed in separate incidents.
In Jos, eight people were killed and many others injured at two villages some 25 kilometres from Jos, when armed men, some of them allegedly in military uniform, attacked them.
The incident in Benin City involved an accident which claimed seven lives when a luxury bus went up in flames on Asaba/Benin highway.
A nursing mother and her three-month-old daughter were among those killed during the attack on Farin Lamba in Jos South Local Government Area and Haman in Barakin-Ladi Local Government Area when they came under attack by gunmen who struck almost simultaneously.
The attackers were said to have struck in each of the villages at about 9 p.m. on Sunday, gunning down three members of the vigilante group at Farin Lamba village before unleashing terror on residents, shooting, cutting and torching their houses and food barns.
One of the vigilante members who escaped with injuries said some of the attackers wore bullet proof vests similar to those used by members of the Special Task Force, adding that they saw a Hilux van similar to the ones used by the task force some distance away.
Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr. Abdulrahman Akano, who confirmed the attack and the killings in a statement said the allegation that those who carried out the attacks were in military uniform was yet to be ascertained.
The killings sparked off demonstration by hundreds of women in Jos South Local Government Area, denouncing the alleged involvement of military men in the attack.
The women rained abuses on men of the special task force and dismantled some of their tents with some of them getting shot in the ensuing commotion.
Reacting to the allegation against his men, Commander of the Special Task Force, Brigadier General Hassan Umoru, doubted if any of his men would participate in any attack against the people they were out to secure and urged the people to look out for identification and other particulars to substantiate any such allegation.
7 roasted in Benin
The auto accident that occurred by Ubulu-Okiti junction at about 5 p.m. on Sunday involved a luxury bus conveying 77 passengers. Unfortunately, seven of the passengers were burnt to death while others were rushed to the hospital.
Our reporter gathered that an explosion occurred when a jerry can containing fuel kept beside the engine of the bus got overheated.
The bus with number plate CG 280 BEN was said to have been hired from a church based in Benin City in Edo and took off to Onitsha in Anambra State where the occupants of the bus attended a burial ceremony of their friend.
Men of the Federal Road Safety Commission carried out the rescue operation and dumped the remains of the burnt victims at an hospital at Ubulu- Okiti including the injured ones.
Similar accidents had taken place on the same highway Umuhu town near Umunede and Asaba burning several persons to death.