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JOS MAYHEM - Army takes over

Posted by By Sun News Publishing on 2008/12/01 | Views: 3052 |

JOS MAYHEM - Army takes over

The Nigerian Army on Sunday took over security in Jos, the Plateau State capital, two days after riots broke out in the city.

• 400 dead, Plateau govt confirms 200
• Tension pervades city
• Abia, Anambra calm

The Nigerian Army on Sunday took over security in Jos, the Plateau State capital, two days after riots broke out in the city.

Chief of Army Staff, General Abdulrahman Dambazza, on Sunday personally led fully armed troops to take over security in the Plataeu State capital where hundreds have lost their lives since riots broke out in the city on Friday.

The police had earlier dispatched an Assistant Inspector General of Police, Mr. Richard Chime, to assist in quelling the riots, but when security reports became alarming, Dambazzau had to be moved to Jos.

The announcement last Friday of the results of the local council polls result, which sparked the riots did not help matters as tempers rose to the highest level and the situation would have gone out of hand, but for the intervention of the soldiers.

Dambazza arrived the tin city on Saturday and personally supervised the deployment of soldiers to hot spots around the state early Sunday morning, amidst sounds of sporadic gunshots. He also led his men in patrolling the streets of the troubled state capital. He also visited displaced persons and assured them of relief materials.

Soldiers mounted checkpoints in parts of the city and patrolled the streets in jeeps and on foot. Passers-by were ordered to raise up their hands while passing even as the soldiers continued to enforce the dusk to dawn curfew imposed on the city by the state government.
Army spokesman, Brig. General Emeka Onwamaegbu told AFP on Sunday that the crisis was gradually abating.

"The situation is gradually returning to normal. There’s not been any cases this morning," he said.
About 400 people are believed to have lost their lives in the mayhem, even as property worth hundreds of millions has been razed.
Plateau State Commissioner for Information, Mr. Nuhu Gagara, told journalists on Sunday that hoodlums from neighbouring states unleashed fresh mayhem on the city at the weekend after Friday’s carnage had been successfully curtailed. He maintained that the riots and the subsequent destruction were pre planned as the elections had been concluded before some hoodlums decided to unleash mayhem on the state.

He expressed the state government’s regrets on the crisis and said a search and rescue committee put in place by the government was already working to locate the dead and the injured.
Contrary to reports that nearly 400 souls might have perished in the crisis, the commissioner said about 200 people died.

At the town’s Central Mosque, the Aid Group of the Ja’amatu Nasril Islam was preparing mass burial for the victims whose identities could not be ascertained.
Murtala Sani Hashim, who registered the dead as they were brought to the mosque, told Reuters on Sunday that 367 bodies had been brought in so far.
The Red Cross said about 7,000 people have fled their homes and had taken refuge in government buildings, army barracks and religious homes.

A spokesman for the Imam at the Jos Central Mosque, Samaila Abdullahi Mohammed, accused the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state of fuelling the crisis.
"The PDP provided an all Christian ticket. They started the trouble because they couldn’t win," he observed. He accused policemen and troops deployed to quell the riots of "heavy-handed tactics." "As far as we are concerned, we have stopped the violence, but the police have not," he further said.
Meanwhile, the Abia State government has been appealing to people in the state to remain calm following the destruction in Jos. In a message continuously run on electronic media in the state since the Jos crisis commenced, the government urged the people not to embark on reprisal killings following the situation in the Plateau State capital.

Also in Anambra State, the situation remained calm on Sunday even as the government appealed to the people not to embark on violent attacks over the Jos crisis.
At the Vatican on Sunday, Catholic Pontiff, Pope Benedict XVI, prayed for the victims of the Jos mayhem. He urged the world to express horror and disapproval at the senseless violence.
Executive Director of the Christian Foundation for Social Justice and Equity, (CFSJES), Mr. Joseph Sangosanya, described the situation as "genocide."

The CFSJES director said the state government mismanaged the whole situation because it allegedly ignored security reports about in-flow of people into Jos.
Sangosanya dismissed as untrue, the assertion by the commissioner for information that there was no security reports, stressing that "the letters written by the civil society to the security agencies that they should beef up security in Jos and its environs were ignored by the government.
"The information system by all the government agencies was not properly managed. Late deployment of soldiers contributed to the mass killings, which we see as genocide and the process of the election itself, which was not credible, led to the mayhem.

"And we see the aggressors as the few individuals who want to perpetuate their expansionist tendencies and we ask that the government should immediately set up a judicial commission of inquiry to unravel the immediate and remote cause(s) of the carnage and those arrested should be charged to court immediately.

The CFSJES director called on the government to, as a matter of urgency, release all the past reports of all the commissions of inquiry into the Jos crises.
He urged the state government to arrest those indicted by those past reports no matter how highly placed so that it could serve as a deterrent.

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Comments (23)

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