Separate attacks occurred in Shonong and Bachit, both in Riyom Local Government
The Plateau State Police Command and the Special Task Force, STF, on Tuesday confirmed 16 persons dead in a Monday attack on Shonong Village, Riyom Local Government Area of Plateau.
The Commissioner of Police, Chris Olakpe, who addressed journalists in Jos on Tuesday, said that nine dead bodies were recovered from the scene while seven others were burnt beyond recognition.
“The figure we have at the police level is nine persons dead bodies that have been collected and deposited in mortuary; seven other bodies charred beyond recognition that have also been packaged for burial,” the police boss said.
He added that “about 20 houses were razed down.”
Residents of Shonong had told PREMIUM TIMES that over a dozen people were killed, with a survivor saying 30; while about 40 houses were razed by the attackers.
The police commissioner, however, said the number of persons injured in the attack was still being collated.
He said that the attack would have been more devastating if not for the prompt intervention of the combined efforts of the police and the STF who repelled it.
But the residents of the area say they were security lapses that allowed the attackers to carry out their action which commenced at about 7:00 a.m. On Monday.
Also disappointed at the STF in the state, the Plateau State House of Assembly member representing Riyom constituency, Daniel Dem, questioned the inactivity of STF in the area.
“If the military are there in the village and the attack took place at about 8 a.m. and lasted till afternoon, then the military have so many questions to answer,” he said.
Mr. Olakpe also said that no arrest had been made but assured that the police had spread its dragnet on Kaduna axis to ensure that the criminals were arrested. Shonong is a border community between Plateau and Kaduna states.
The commissioner assured that the state command was collaborating with the Kaduna State Police Command to arrest the attackers.
According to him, the command was devising new strategies to check the spate of attacks in rural communities in Plateau.
“We are going to take some strategic actions to ensure that more movement of the policemen to the hinterland will be effected as early as possible.
“We are going to bring out new partnership with traditional rulers in particular, so that they will be part and parcel of the security apparatus,” he said.
The Shonong attack is different from the Bachit attack which occurred on Monday night also in Riyom Local Government. Six people were killed in the Bachit attack, the JTF spokesperson, Salisu Mustapha, had told PREMIUM TIMES.
Mr. Mustapha in a statement released later, also confirmed the police casualty for the Shonong attack, adding that five people were injured.
Mr. Mustapha said that the injured persons were taken to Vom Christian Hospital and normalcy had returned to the area as the STF personnel are patrolling the area.
The spokesperson also said the public should disregard conflicting reports on the casualty figures and assured that the perpetrators would be brought to justice.