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Plateau: Security Intervention Averts Fresh Bloodletting


Plateau: Security Intervention Averts Fresh Bloodletting

The Nation Newspaper

Only an early intervention by security men in Plateau State on Thursday night helped avert a fresh massacre in Bokkos Local Government Area, according to reports yesterday.

Bandits had already laid siege to Budel in Tangur district of the LGA , burning and destroying homes.

Transition Committee Chairman of Bokkos, Monday Kassah who confirmed the development, however, said no deaths were recorded as the quick intervention of the security personnel saved the day.

Amid the mourning trailing the Christmas Day attacks on Bokkos,Mangu and Barkin Ladi LGAs, Police Inspector General Kayode Egbetokun yesterday announced the setting up of a special police squad to curb the incessant murderous attacks in the state.

Egbetokun unveiled the new security arrangement in Jos during a visit to personally assess the havoc caused during the December 25 attacks which left 195 people dead.

Survivors have continued to give their eyewitness accounts of the attacks.

One spoke of how even babies were butchered by the bandits.

Another told of how the attackers rendered him armless for the rest of his life.

Kassah said the death toll remained at 195 yesterday but said rescue operations were continuing to find missing persons.

Bokkos LGA recorded the highest number of casualties -148,followed by Barkin Ladi with 27 while Mangu had 19.

A total of 1290 houses were burnt down in Bokkos LGA alone.

Speaking to reporters yesterday during the assessment tour, Egbetokun said the special squad had commenced work immediately.

“We are deploying all our resources to ensure that this does not happen again in Plateau State,” he stressed.

Continuing, the IGP said: “I am here to commiserate with the state government and to build the confidence of the people of the affected LGAs.

“We have increased our deployment. I have given directive for deployment of a tactical unit to go into the affected areas and other vulnerable communities.

“I have specific instructions of Mr President to fish out the perpetrators of this dastardly act and to ensure the killings in Plateau State stop. And I am committed to that instruction.

“We have started by deploying adequately; we are responding appropriately to this incident, and we are not going to sweep it under the carpet.

“I also informed the people when I was in the governor’s office that a special operation has commenced in this state today with the deployment of the tactical unit. You can see me coming with the DIG Operation, the DIG Intelligence is here with me, the DIG Air Wing is here with me, the AIG of the zone is also here with me.

“The AIG of the zone has been asked to relocate to Plateau until we record success in the operation that we are starting today.

“These special operations we are starting today will form the nucleus of the special intervention squad. “I have made it public previously that the special intervention squad is going to commence in ten pilot states in Nigeria including Plateau State.

“In this special operation, we are going to dominate the affected areas and ensure the criminals are brought to book, and never to come back for any attack.

He sought the cooperation of the people of the state in the fight against criminals.

His words: “With the cooperation of the people of Plateau, a solution is in sight. I want to appeal to the people of Plateau to cooperate with the security agencies, support them with information, and actively take part.

“These criminals have declared war on our state and we are all going to join hands together to fight this war. We should not see this war as a war against the Fulanis, we should not see it as a war against any tribe in Nigeria, it is a war against the criminals; it is a war against enemies of our country.”

Governor Caleb Mutfwang said the IGP’s visit had “restored confidence in the people.”

He expressed the hope that the police leadership under Egbetokun would not disappoint the people of the state.

Plateau is under siege, no village is safe – CSOs raise the alarm
A coalition of civil society organisations in the state – Plateau Civil Society Organizations Forum – yesterday said no village in the state is safe from bandits who keep making life unbearable for innocent residents.

Addressing newsmen in Jos,President of the forum,the Reverend Chris Damcher said the killings that started on September 7,2001 have now grown into massacres and barbaric acts of violence.

He said:”As it is common with most of the attacks meted on communities, there are most often early warning security alerts circulated on social media.

“We are fully convinced that such information usually gets to the security agencies and relevant authorities. But there is hardly or ever a proactive measure by the security operatives to counter the early warnings circulated or intercept the attackers in the act.

“It is no longer news that the attackers are not only after the lives of the community dwellers but truly their ancestral and God given lands to occupy.

“From our observation and what is glaringly taking place on the Plateau is the sprouting of strange new settlements and herders at the footage of the hills all around the Northern and parts of the Central Zones of Plateau State.

“Meanwhile, the original owners of the lands have been displaced to the Internally Displaced Person Camps (IDPs) and other host communities where they are out of touch with economic realities.

“The lands are being taken over and there is no government and traditional institutions fighting or promoting the returning of the IDPs to their ancestral land, while the grabbers are moving around freely and molesting citizens.

“All community stakeholders should sensitise and create awareness on early warning response to issues of insecurity.

“All necessary measures should be put in place for citizenry to get back to ancestral land and not remain in IDP camps or migrate to neighbouring communities.

“Government should be more proactive in response to sending immediate relief to affected communities.”

LG chairs condemn attacks, call for arrest of perpetrators
The transition committee chairmen of the 17 local government areas in the state yesterday condemned the Christmas day attacks in the state.

Hamisu Anani, Transition Committee chairman of Wase LGA who doubles as chairman of the Association of Local Governments in Nigeria (ALGON) described the attacks as a monumental tragedy not only for the state but for Nigeria at large.

He said the spirit of the people of the state would never be broken by the unprovoked attacks.

He said: “these senseless and unprovoked acts are unnecessary and unjustifiable while appealing to the sponsors of these attacks to reconsider their action, as there is nothing to gain from such violence. The spirit of the Plateau people will not be broken.”

“We ALGON expressed sympathy for the affected families and communities and urged citizens to stand strong, assuring them that the government is actively working to address the situation while calling for calm in the affected areas.”

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