By Marie-Therese Nanlong
THE fragile peace in Plateau State was earlier in the week shattered by ruthless gunmen, who stormed some Plateau State communities and murdered innocent persons, among them women, children and infants in their sleep.
The gunmen, who invaded Dong Kasa in Jos North and Kohorok hamlet, Kwi in Riyom Local Government Area of the State, left behind 16 bodies and tales of immitigable woes.
The attack in Dong Kasa village occurred at about 8.00 p.m. as sporadic gunshots rented the air, sending residents scampering for safety, as the murderers reportedly broke into homes and shot their victims at close range, while some innocent persons were hit by stray bullets.
The Village Head, Daniel Choji, said the attackers came under the cover of darkness, adding that the attack left eight persons dead, comprising five females, two males, and an infant.
The attackers then descended on Kwi village at 11pm when residents were fast asleep and killed another eight, while one managed to escape with injuries.
The member representing Riyom in the State House of Assembly, Timothy Dantong, who described the attack as barbaric, senseless and inhuman, confirmed that four males and four females were killed and called on security operatives to live up to their responsibilities by responding to distress calls early to ensure that perpetrators of the heinous acts were apprehended and brought to book.
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Apart from Kohorok, Darigi too in the same Kwi was attacked on Tuesday night as gunshots were heard as far as Heipang in neighbouring Barkin Ladi Local Government Area.
After the attack, the State Governor, Simon Lalong, represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Professor Danladi Atu in company of other state officials and different local government officials visited the areas to commiserate with the people.
He assured the people that government would do all within its power to fish out and punish the perpetrators and urged them to remain vigilant as security is a collective responsibility of both the people and government.
Village Head of Kwi, Da Joshua Kwon, lamented the weak security architecture of the local government and urged relevant authorities to address it in order to forestall future occurrence of such cruelty.
The State Commissioner for Information and Communication, Dan Manjang, however assured that the security threats were being addressed with the acquisition of no fewer than 50 patrol vehicles and 200 security motorcycles by the state government for security agencies in the state.
The Senator representing Plateau North, Senator Istifanus Gyang, linked the attacks to the recent security alert by the police saying: “Shortly after the IGP issued a security alert on likely terror attacks on Jos and the FCT, the blood merchants have visited terror on Dong community adjacent Wild Life Park, Jos and Kwi village, adjacent Yakubu Gowon Airport Heipang where 16 persons were butchered, including children.”
Senator Gyang in a statement by his Special Assistant, Media/Protocol, Musa Ashoms, condemned in strong terms the renewed attacks, describing same as dastardly, wicked and unwarranted.
“It is, therefore, incumbent on the Plateau State Police Commissioner to arrest and prosecute those persons forthwith. There must be a decisive action against all those that are known to security agencies, the OPSH, Police and the DSS for the serial killings, displacement and forceful occupation of ancestral homelands of communities in Plateau North as inaction on this matter will amount to condoning criminal act and complicity.”
However, Spokesman of the State Police Command, ASP Gabriel Ubah, said the command received a distress call from the community and responded with the deployment of a combined team of security personnel, led by an Assistant Commissioner of Police, to repel the attackers and added that security personnel had been deployed to the affected areas to forestall a breakdown of law and order.
Condoling with the people, the Adagwom Izere, Jos North, Emmanuel Ajik, said the incident happened at the time people were enjoying relative peace and called on government at all levels to join hands with government agencies to bring the perpetrators of the dastardly act to book.
He appealed to the herders and farmers to live in peace saying: “Peace is what we should embrace because if we don’t stay peacefully, there will be no progress.”
Vanguard News Nigeria
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