Plateau Crisis: Three soldiers killed in fresh attack

Nigerian Army officers fighting Boko Haram
Nigerian Soldiers [Photo Credit: Olisa TV]

At least three army officers have been killed by gunmen in Barikin Ladi Local Government Area of the state, the army said Saturday.

The soldiers were attached to Operation Safe Haven, a multi-security taskforce maintaining peace in the state.

Augustine Agundu, a major general and commandant of the unit, confirmed the killings to journalists at the unit’s headquarters in Jos.

He said the soldiers were all killed while in action in Barikin Ladi LGA.

“What I want to say categorically is that the situation in the Plateau is becoming more precarious than expected,” he said.

“Since the unfortunate incident in June this year, with all the effort being made to bring understanding, the situation is getting out of hand.

“Often times, we are having a lot of crises where deliberate and well planned crises are organised against innocent people so that peaceful coexistence would be disrupted. This is no longer acceptable.

“I condemn all the act of violence that is going on in the Plateau. We have been engaging constructively with leaders at all levels; including religious, political and community leaders.

“I have lost three men. They were killed in action as a result of cycle of violence that resurfaced again. The worst of it is the proliferation of arms in the Plateau that is out of magnitude. There is no nation where you use crime to fight crime.

“I am saying this emphatically that enough is enough. I have declared that enough is enough. What happened in Barikin Ladi would not repeat itself again. I have locked down Barikin Ladi completely. No human being is going to cause trouble again.

“Whatever that is going on in Barikin Ladi, Riyom, Bassa and Bakkos LGAs, that is enough. That is the message I want to send out. I have said it in the meeting we have just had that all leaders should sit their youth to civility and decorum so that the ordinary man could live peacefully.

“Plateau is a state of peace and tourism and asked them that they should return to that slogan,” he said.
Suspected army officers set ablaze Jong community

Earlier, there were reports that people suspected to be personnel of the Operation Safe Haven set ablaze Jong community in Ropp district of Barikin Ladi Local Government Area of the state.

It is not clear whether the two attacks were connected.

But residents said over 200 houses were allegedly burnt down during the operation, residents said.

They said incident occurred Saturday morning at about 7:00pm. PREMIUM TIMES could not independently verify that claim.

Nura Abdullahi, the state secretary of Miyetti Allah, confirmed the incident to PREMIUM TIMES in Jos.

“Officers of Operation Safe Haven stormed Jong commumity in Ropp District of Barikin Ladi LGA. They burnt down the area completely.

“I have called STF commandant, Major General Augustine Christ Chukwudi Agundu, on the matter but (he) told me he was not aware of the incident and would confirm from the area. I also called him for the second time to ask them to stop but his line was busy,” Mr Abdullahi has said.

A resident of the area, Idris Muhammed, told PREMIUM TIMES that the officers came in seven Hilux buses and armoured vehicles and started shooting sporadically.

“I am the Chiroma of the Jong community. The soldiers came in the early hours of Saturday, in seven Hilux vans. That is around 7:00pm., shooting sporadically. Women and children have fled for safety.

“Over 200 houses were burnt down by the soldiers. Women and children have fled to the bush due to the sporadic shooting. We don’t have anything against anybody,” Mr Muhammed said.

Umar Adam, a major and spokesperson of the operation, told PREMIUM TIMES that military activities were being undertaken in the area due to the unwarranted attacks bedevilling communities in Barikin Ladi and other LGAs in the state.

“There are attacks and counter attacks between communities in the entire Barikin Ladi. So in view of that, the command decided to take a step that would bring an end to the unwarranted attacks and killings. We are taking military activities now to ensure that any criminal element is located and bring to book,” he said.

“The military activities wouldn’t only be carried out in Barikin Ladi. It would also be extended to other affected areas to get rid of all criminal elements. This would help us prevent crisis and others criminal activities and promote peace among the various people living around,” he said.

He did not directly confirm reports that soldiers burned the community.


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