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Freedom Radio Nigeria

Manyan Labarai

Plateau Crisis: Soldiers Open fire, One killed



Soldiers serving with the Special Task Force on Jos crisis on Thursday opened fire on rampaging youth who blocked a road in Bokkos Local Government Area, in protest of the killing of a monarch and a night attack there Wednesday.

At least one person was killed and five others injured, witnesses told sources.

A witness, Mangai Haruna, said the youth refused to allow soldiers into the area, pressing them instead to provide the killers of their kinsmen.

“They shot on our people, one of them died instantly,” Mr. Haruna said.

Residents say there is tension in Bokkos town, as many have fled the area to seek refuge elsewhere. The weekly Thursday market in the town could not open due to the crisis.

A spokesperson for the STF could not be immediately reached.

Plateau State has enjoyed relative calm in recent times after years of ethno-religious conflict that claimed the lives of thousands.

The latest spell of violence began on Monday afternoon when unknown gunmen ambushed and killed Lazarus Agaei, a first class traditional ruler and the Saf Ron Kurele, alongside his wife, son and a police guard.

 On Wednesday night, unknown assailants reportedly destroyed homes and attacked residents of the area.

In protest, youth barricaded roads leading to the area on Thursday morning, and blocked the convoy of the police commissioner of Plateau State, Adekunle Oladunjoye. Mr. Oladunjoye was later allowed in.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of operations, Habila Joshak, is currently in Bokkos.

Mr. Joshak was deployed from Abuja to ensure the arrest of the killers of the monarch.

At Bokkos council police station where the youth gathered, Mr. Joshak sued for peace, and assured that perpetrators of the crime would be arrested and prosecuted.

He also visited the palace of the late paramount ruler where he pleaded for calm.

The DIG said the police was deploying a chopper for an aerial patrol of the local government council for the next two weeks, with the aim of arresting those behind the attacks.

He solicited the cooperation of residents to enable police fish out those behind the attacks.

Residents demanded the deployment of more mobile police officers to the local government to protect them.

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