In May, some communities in Riyom raised an alarm after discovering a training camp of suspected terrorists.
The killings of scores of people in separate attacks in Riyom, Plateau State, in the past year would have been worse if the police was not up and doing, an official has said.
A Police Superintendent, Babayemi Akomolede, stated this during the 8th meeting of the Plateau Peace Architecture Dialogue series held at the Cabinet office in Jos on Thursday.
Mr. Akomolede denied that the Plateau Police ignored warnings by communities in Riyom Local Government Area of a suspected terrorist training camp in the area.
“The police did not ignore the alarm of an illegal training camp in parts of Riyom. To the best of my knowledge, arrests have been made from those areas,” said Mr. Akomolede.
In early June, some communities in Riyom raised alarm after discovering a training camp of suspected terrorists around Rim and Shonong villages.
PREMIUM TIMES reported how the community members called on the police to come to their aid.
Days after the call, in separate attacks, yet to be identified armed men unleashed terror on communities in the area killing no fewer than 14 people including a youth leader.
In one of such attacks on June 11, gunmen attacked Gako and Tanjol communities in Riyom, killing at least six people.
Two churches were also burnt in the attack which took place at about 1:00 a.m.
Residents of the area said apart from the six civilians killed, five uniformed security officials, believed to be members of the Special Task Force, STF, were also killed.
The police in the state, however, confirmed the death of only the six civilians; while saying five others were injured.
“On June 11 at about 1 a.m., unknown gunmen invaded two villages of Gako and Tanjol, shooting sporadically and in the process killing 6 persons, and injuring 5 others,” the Plateau Police Command spokesperson, Dominic Esin, had told PREMIUM TIMES in his office.
Mr. Akomolede, however, denied that the police did nothing to avert the crisis, and several similar ones in the area that have killed scores of people.
“If not for the prompt response of the police … the security situation in Riyom would have been worse than what it is today,” he said. “So I believe strongly something is being done in that regard.”
He called for the creation of vigilante groups in communities to help secure their areas and compliment the efforts of the police.
In his address, the Special Adviser on Peace and Conflict Management to Governor Jonah Jang, Timothy Parlong, said “The abnormal security situation in the state requires the involvement of vigilante groups.
He said the state governor, Jonah Jang, made it a policy for communities to form vigilante groups due to the prevailing security situation.
The peace parley was organized by the Search for Common Ground, SFCG.
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