Plateau killings: Death toll now 27 as Lalong orders arrest of perpetrators
• Former speaker's house burnt
The death toll in the unfortunate attack in Bokos Local Government Area of Plateau State has increased from 15 to 27, just as Governor Simon Lalong ordered the arrest of the perpetrators of the attacks in the affected communities.
It would be recalled that 15 people were killed in Kwatas community in Bokos local government area on Sunday following the invasion of the community by gunmen who went on a killing spree.
A community leader who is also a former Speaker of the Plateau State House of Assembly, Hon. Titus Alams, told Nigerian Tribune that the unfortunate incident spread to other communities within the local government and the neighbouring Mangu council area from Monday night to the early hours of Tuesday leading to additional casualties.
According to him, the death toll in Bokkos had risen from 15 to 22 following another attack in Ruboi and Marish villages, adding that it also spread to the neighbouring local government of Mangu where another three persons were killed.
Hon Alams who further stated that houses were burnt including his personal house at Kwatas village called on the people to be calm and be vigilant.
When contacted the State Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Ubah Gabriel who said he has not been briefed on the spread added that two of the five persons receiving treatment at Bokkos hospital died in early hours of Tuesday.
Apparently disturbed by the recent killings, Governor Lalong ordered the CP to go with the Ardos (Fulani Leaders) and other community leaders in the troubled parts of the state to fish out the perpetrators.
The governor at a meeting with the stakeholders on Tuesday which include heads of security agencies, traditional rulers, community leaders and Ardos representing the Fulani community at the government house insisted that the perpetrators must be fished out immediately.
The governor said he will not allow the situation to degenerate further and make nonsense of the efforts put in to restore peace to the state, insisting that nobody is above the government.
“How can they say that people are killed and there is no arrest. Are those killing others spirits? I don’t think you can kill 15 human beings and claim you are spirit and there is no arrest. Commissioner of Police, you should take the community leaders and the Ardos with you so that they can tell you those behind these killings. By the time you go to the cell, you will bring out those people that are doing it. If you want to give evidence, give it to the commissioner of police. We are not afraid of criminals.
“Some community leaders and Ardos have done their best but within us, there are criminals. We must expose them no matter how high. If you are one of them, you better take yourself to the police station. The Army is here, Police, Civil Defence, DSS, Operation Rainbow. I want those people today. They should not sleep in their houses. By the time they are arrested, we will solve this problem,” the governor said.
Speaking earlier, the State Commissioner of Police, Mr Isaac Akimoyede, said he had held a meeting with the community leaders last Saturday based on intelligence where he warned against any breach of the peace.
“Since I have been in the state since February, no event of this magnitude has happened. We have been investigating the incident in Mangun and then this. We cannot continue in this situation in the state. The security agencies have resolved that those people killing must be arrested no matter how highly placed. Peace must return to this state as we cannot continue in this situation. If anyone has grievances, he should come up and say it so that we can find a solution, not to take the laws into his hand and kill. We will not allow it,” the CP said.
He assured the governor that the security personnel have been deployed in the troubled areas to forestall any spread of the crises beyond the initial areas.