Plateau Killings: Army Arrests 17 Suspects
The Nigerian Army said on Thursday that they have arrested 17 people in connection with the killing of at least 100 people in the central state of Plateau.
Army Spokesman, Major Adam Umar said three of the arrests were linked to killings in the Barikin Ladi area, while the other 14 were arrested in connection with the deaths of travellers in the south of the state capital, Jos.
“We all know that some days back, some villages in Barikin Ladi were attacked and these three suspects were arrested in connection with that,” Umar said.
“As our men were repelling the attacks in those areas, we arrested these three suspects with four rifles, three locally made guns and one AK47,” he added.
The clashes are rooted in tensions over access to land between the pastoral herders and sedentary farmers but have also generated sectarian friction between Muslims and Christians.
Police and army reinforcements have been sent to Plateau to improve security, while a dusk-to-dawn curfew remained in place in areas of the state to restore calm.
At least 86 persons were confirmed killed by suspected herdsmen during the attack on Gashish district of Barkin Ladi Local Government Area of the state last weekend.
The state’s Police Public Relations Officer, Mathias Tyopev, told Channels Television on Sunday that six people were also injured while at least 50 houses, 12 vehicles, and 15 motorcycles were razed.
He confirmed the casualty figure and destruction after a search and rescue team from the Plateau State Police Command visited the communities affected by Saturday’s attack.
The six villages attacked by the assailants are Xlands, Gindin Akwati, Ruku, Nhgar, Kura Falls and Kakuruk, all in Gashish.
Plateau State, which had previously enjoyed relative peace, has recently been hit by series of attacks mainly perpetrated by suspected herdsmen, resulting in the death of several persons.
Call For Calm
Several groups and individuals have continued to react to the resurgence, calling on the Federal Government to shake up the country’s security set up.
One of such groups was the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), which has asked the Federal Government to review Nigeria’s security architecture in a bid to stem the rate of killings in the country.
CAN made the demand on Monday in a statement by Pastor Adebayo Oladeji, the Special Assistant on Media and Communication to the group’s president, (Rev) Samson Ayokunle.
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The association lamented that despite assurances and promises by President Muhammadu Buhari that his government was committed to the safety of lives and property of Nigerians, “coordinated and premeditated” attacks have continued in Plateau and other states.
Furthermore, it called on the Federal Government not to rest on its oars until the perpetrators of the attacks are brought to book.
In a statement on Monday by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the President said that although a number of geographical and economic factors are contributing to the longstanding herdsmen/farmers clashes, politicians were taking advantage of the situation.
He, however, called for calm in the troubled state.
While describing the attacks as painful and regrettable, the President assured residents that the perpetrators will be brought to justice.
The state governor, Mr Simon Lalong, also assured residents that the government remains committed to their security, and it is doing everything possible to ensure that perpetrators are not spared.