As Plateau Bleeds, Nigerian Army Denies Boko Haram’s Killing of 25 Soldiers

Plateau State, known in Nigeria as the “home of peace and tourism” is fast becoming the theatre of a bloodbath. Many were on Sunday feared killed and scores injured in a fresh violence in parts of Jos, the state capital.

Jos, according to Wikipedia,  has become an important national administrative, commercial, and tourist centre.

Tin mining has led to the influx of migrants, mostly IgbosYorubas and Europeans, who constitute more than half of the population of Jos. This “melting pot” of race, ethnicity and religion makes Jos one of the most cosmopolitan cities in Nigeria. For this reason,

Despite the fact that the state is inhabited by predominantly Christian communities, clashes have occurred between Christian and Muslim populations.

In 2001, the city witnessed violent riots between the divided and Christian and Muslim populations, in which several thousand people died. In 2004, the former Governor Joshua Dariye, was suspended for six months for failing to control the violence.

In January 2011, there were almost daily clashes between Muslims and Christians mobs in villages around Jos; a series of bombs had been detonated during Christmas Eve celebrations a month earlier, killing scores of people. In May 2014, a twin bomb attack in Jos killed 118 people.

This time, houses were also reportedly burnt during the violence which spread to communities, including Dutse-Uku and Rikkos.

The bloodletting and arson in Jos came as the Nigerian Army was busy denying media reports that  25 soldiers were killed in an attack coordinated by Boko Haram insurgents in Borno.

The Director of Army Public Relations, Col. Sagir Musa, made the denial in a Short Message (SMS) sent to the News Agency of Nigeria in Maiduguri, the Borno state capital, on Sunday.

Some reports claimed 25 soldiers were killed on Saturday when the insurgents attacked a military convoy evacuating civilians on Damboa-Biu Road. Musa has dismissed the report as “rumour and fake”.

“Contrary to rumour and fake news circulating, there was no attack on any of our troops’ locations at Sabon Gari or any other locations in Borno State. I have spoken with the Special Force Commander in Damboa and he confirmed to me that there was nothing of such in Damboa or any of his locations as at Friday) and Saturday”, he said.

However, confirming the violence on Sunday, Spokesman for the Nigeria Police in Plateau State, Mathias Tyopev, said security men had been drafted to quell the fight, pointing out that the police has received reports of tension around Dutse Uku, Rikkos, Cele Bridge and that they have mobilised their personnel to the area.

“As we speak, the Area Commander, Jos metropolis, is there on ground”, he said.

A resident of the area, who identified himself as Paul Musa, to The Punch said there had been tension in the area since last week when a boy from Angwan Miango was found dead at a boundary between the community and neighbouring Rikkos, a community of Hausa residents.

He claimed that on Sunday morning, another boy from the same Angwan Miango was killed at a stream that runs across Angwan Miango and Rikkos communities, adding that indigenes of Angwan Miango went on a reprisal against Rikkos, resulting in killings.

Some churches, the newspaper gathered, hurriedly ended their services to guard against attacks.

In the mean time, one person has, again, been declared missing following another attack on Plateau State Polytechnic staff quarters by gunmen. It was gathered on Sunday that the lady identified as Murbi was abducted when gunmen raided the staff quarters located at Heipan, in the Barkin Ladi Council Area around 8pm on Saturday.

A resident of the community, Solomon Dalyop, confirmed the attack to The Punch in Jos on Sunday. Also, Assistant Registrar of the Polytechnic, Ezekiel Rangs, whose sister was recently released after she was abducted by gunmen at the staff quarters, confirmed the attack to our correspondent in Jos on Sunday

He said, “I’m provoked this morning. You people need to come and see what we are suffering in the hands of gunmen at the staff quarters. The situation is unbearable.”

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