No fewer than 25 people believed to be travelling from Bauchi to the South West were killed today by angry Jos youths still smarting from recent attacks on their community.
An eye witness said Irigwe youths had repeatedly announced that they were conveying the corpses of their slain members for burial in Bassa on Saturday. They had set out in a convoy for the burial on Saturday morning when violence broke out along the way at Rukuba road.
As they went with the corpses, they met some vans conveying some Fulani along their way. The Fulani reportedly claimed they were commuters from Bauchi, but the angry youths challenged them seeing that Rukuba road does not connect Bauchi highway. They suspected that they may have come to attack them at the burial ground.
The youths allegedly pounced on the Fulani, injured some and killed others before the security agents could reach the spot. The violence began to escalate before the security agents arrested it.
Eight more corpses of the victims of Saturday’s gun attack in Jos, Plateau State capital, have been recovered.
Another witness said a convoy of five vehicles was attacked along Gada-Biyu road in Jos North Local Government Area of Plateau.
The victims were reportedly heading back to the South West after attending an event on the Islamic New Year at Sheik Dahiru Usman Bauchi Mosque in Bauchi State.
Reacting to the fresh violence, the Governor Simon Lalong condemned the killings, especially as it involved innocent commuters, and immediately directed security agencies to swiftly identify and arrest the perpetrators of the attack.
A statement by Director of Press, Simon Macham reads in part: “Governor Simon Bako Lalong has warned trouble makers bent on fomenting trouble in Plateau State to desist as the government will not allow any form of lawlessness to disrupt the peace of the State.
“Lalong said the attacks on innocent citizens no matter their backgrounds will never be tolerated in Plateau State and those who are found to be behind such attacks will be dealt with decisively to serve as deterrence and restore public order.
“The Governor however commends security agencies for their immediate response leading to the arrest of some suspects and the restoration of calm to the area.”
The Governor also commiserated with the families of those affected, and assured all law abiding citizens that security had been beefed up around the area as well as the entire metropolis to forestall further breach of the peace.
He reminded the citizens to remain vigilant and be security conscious in reporting suspicious persons and behaviour within their domains to enable law enforcement agencies to respond appropriately.
Lalong also directed the Secretary to the Government of the State, Prof. Danladi Atu to visit the areas and ascertain the situation as well as ensure that those injured received adequate medical attention.
The peace of the state has been troubled by series of skirmishes in recent times, leading to several deaths and destruction of properties, especially in Bassa and Riyom Local Government Areas. The Governor has repeatedly warned that violent merchants won’t be allowed to have their way in the state.