JOS MASSACRE: 387 BODIES GIVEN MASS BURIAL
It was all wailing and weeping yesterday in Dogo-Na-Hawa village in Jos South Local Government Area of Plateau State as bodies of over 387 people killed last Sunday in the resurgence of violence in the area were given mass burial.
They were buried near the village around 3pm.
Plateau State Commissioner for Works and Transport, who is also the Chairman, Recovery and Evacuation Committee, Mr. Solomon Zang, described the killings as gruesome.
He said more corpses of those attacked in the nearby bush in the affected villages while trying to escape were being discovered.
Zang lamented that Jos, the state capital, which used to be a home of peace had been turned into a theatre of war.
Over 300 people, mostly women and children were murdered in the early hours of Sunday following attacks on Dogo-Na-Hawa, Ratsat and Jeji villages in Foron district of Jos South Local Government.
The attacks, believed to be reprisal following that of last January 17, were visited on the Berom villages by men suspected to be Hausa-Fulani fighters who had descended from the hills from where they launched the attack around 2am.
Meanwhile, early yesterday, Berom youths had also attempted a reprisal on the Hausa in Jos, a development that forced residents who had come out for their daily chores to beat a retreat.
The youths in their hundreds trooped out from Bukuru area, chanting war songs, setting bon fires and barricading major roads, but the joint military and riot police emerged immediately to disperse them.
The rampaging youths had burnt three trucks at the Angle-D area of Jos before the security agents arrived.
They also made to disrupt the ongoing peace conference at the Hill Station Hotel Jos, where former head of states and presidents namely General Yakubu Gowon, Alhaji Shehu Shagari and Chief Ernest Shonekan as well as other dignitaries were in attendance.
It took the intervention of heavily armed security men before the youths were turned back.
The state police command has, however, confirmed that Sunday killings in the villages were a reprisal launched by the Fulanis in the aftermath of the January 17, 2010 crisis in which some Fulanis were killed in Kuru and Barkin Ladi.
Police Public Relations Officer ASP Mohammed Lerama said in a press statement that 19 Fulanis had been arrested with daggers and knives in Angwari village of Jos East Local Government Council and upon interrogation they allegedly admitted that they took part in Sunday’s killings.
The police said four Fulanis were also shot dead in Barkin Ladi Local Government Area by the joint security task force in Jos, while 74 persons from Mangu village were found with the prohibited firearms by security operatives and arrested.
Lerama said the Fulanis, who carried out the Sunday attacks, might have come from Forbur district of Jos East Local Government Council of the state.
He denied that the attackers came from neighbouring state of Bauchi as there is no motorable road linking Bauchi to the area.
He said the security teams had recovered nine single barrel guns, four double barrel guns, two locally made double barrel guns and three locally made single barrel pistols.
Other weapons recovered, according to Lerama, are five AK 47 live ammunition, five 9mm ammunition and 34 live cartridges.
The police, however, put the casualty figure of Sunday’s killing at 50 though 387 bodies are known to have been given mass burial.
In the meantime, Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice Adetokunbo Kayode (SAN) has said a special legal team to complement the work of prosecuting suspects in the sectarian crisis in the state and others suspected to have been involved in previous crisis in Jos will soon be constituted.
The AGF said the legal team would be expected to speed up the trial of the suspects.
He disclosed this when he presented the National Policy on Torture.
He said any of the suspects found guilty would be punished accordingly.
Kayode said those arrested in the aftermath of the mayhem of last January 17 in Jos were at present facing trial in Abuja and the law would take its course.
He said the Federal Govern-ment was deeply worried about the incessant crisis in Jos with its attendant destruction of lives and properties each time it occurs.
The AGF said Nigerians in Jos should be consoled by the fact that Acting President Goodluck Jonathan had already put the security on red alert to ward off any reprisal.
He said the Federal Government is committed to achieving the spirit and purpose of the convention against torture and its optional protocol.
“Our national action plan for the promotion and protection of human rights contains explicit provisions on how we intend to achieve this.
“In addition, the establishment of the National Committee on Torture is our national mechanism to investigate allegations of torture, extra-judicial executions and other unlawful killings,” he said.