20 killed, 40 missing in Plateau attack
• Akeredolu Urges Calm, Assures Situation Under Control
Twenty dead bodies were being washed, yesterday, at the Plateau Specialist Hospital, Jos, preparatory for mass burial on the city outskirts.
The deceased was travelling from Bauchi to Ikare in Ondo State when they met their untimely death in Jos. Forty of them were still missing.
The incident happened at Rukuba Road that leads to the 3Armoured Division of the Nigerian Army, Jos.
Story had it that the travellers ran into Miango mourners, who were taking their about 40 corpses from the Plateau Specialist Hospital, yesterday, around 9:00 am for mass burial in their village, Miango.
As the mourners, dressed in black, were going to their village for the burial, they ran into five buses.
It was gathered that the mourners stopped the buses and were told by the travellers that they were coming from Bauchi and going to Ikare. They said they were taking Rukuba Road as a shortcut.
The youths descended on them and killed 20 of them instantly, while they burnt some buses. When journalists visited the hospitals, some people washing the corpses at the mortuary asked journalists to count the dead bodies.
A source said 40 people were missing. The Muslim clerics at the hospital said to avoid further escalation of the crisis, they would bury the dead in Bukuru area.
A statement by spokesman of Operation Safe Haven (OPSH), Major Takwa Gaji Ishaku said: “Troops got distress calls that suspected hoodlums blocked Jos North Junction along Rukuba Road in Jos North LGA of Plateau State and attacked some commuters.
“Troops immediately mobilised to the scene and restored normalcy. Some persons, including innocent commuters, lost their lives in the unfortunate incident, while others with varying degrees of injuries have been evacuated to a medical facility for care. Their condition is being closely monitored.
“Twelve suspects have so far been arrested in connection with the incident and troops are on the trail of others that took part in perpetrating the heinous act. Those arrested are currently in custody for interrogation…”
Meanwhile, Governor Simon Bako Lalong has warned troublemakers, bent on fomenting trouble in Plateau, to desist, as Government would not allow any form of lawlessness to disrupt the peace of the state.
Lalong, while reacting to the reported skirmishes, condemned the act and immediately directed security agencies to identify and arrest the perpetrators, while dominating the area to restore calm.
Also, Ondo State Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN), has assured the state indigenes that their kith and kin in Plateau State are safe, despite the carnage leading to the death of several persons in the state.
The Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Richard Olatunde, in a statement made available to journalists in Akure, yesterday, said the governor urged Ondo State indigenes to be calm, as the situation was under control.
Akeredolu was said to have got the assurance after the unfortunate killing in Plateau, where some people believed to be indigenes of Ondo State were attacked.
Olatunde explained: “The Governor says from the report he received from his brother Governor in Plateau, the incident was a case of mistaken identity.
“The victims, according to preliminary reports, took a route where crisis between Muslims and Northern Christians had ensued for some time, and that they may have been possibly mistaken for aggressors. Accordingly, either of the two feuding groups in the area could be responsible in this regard.”
Governor Akeredolu sued for calm among people of the state, urging that nobody should take the law into their hands. He particularly urged the people to refrain from any hasty colouration of the unfortunate incident.
“I have spoken with my brother Governor in Plateau, and he has assured me that the situation is under control. I want to plead with our people to remain calm. From the report I gathered, it is clear some were killed while many others who are injured have been taken to the hospital for medical attention…”
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