In Jos, Plateau State, authorities and witnesses said at least 25 Fulani travellers were killed and buried on Saturday.
In Jos, the state capital, the incident occurred at about 10.30am around Gada-Biyu – Rukuba road.
The Shauntv has learned that about 50 of the travellers who were riding in a convoy of five hummer buses are unaccounted for at the time of reporting, and at least 14 people who sustained injuries but escaped are being treated in hospitals.
Contrary to reports that the attackers were bandits, police officials in Plateau State described them as “suspected Irigwe militia.” READ MORE
Many of the victims were killed with machetes, knives, knives, stones and other dangerous weapons after they were dragged out of their vehicles caught in gridlock.
The attack on Saturday came about two weeks after two people were killed when youths blocked the same Gada-Biyu highway.
Two trucks, one carrying cattle, were destroyed. Attacks and reprisals have become common in Plateau State of late, eroding the gains recorded after the incumbent government restored peace.
Last night, Governor Simon Bako imposed a curfew on Jos North, Jos South, and Bassa Local Government Areas between 6pm and 6am.
Victims of the latest attack
The victims of Saturday’s attack were mostly Fulani from Ondo and Ekiti states who were returning home after attending the annual Zikr (prayer session) organized by Sheikh Dahiru Usman Bauchi to mark the onset of the new Islamic year, Muharram.
As the innocent travellers were travelling in a convoy of five buses, they were intercepted while passing through Rukuba Road in Jos to avoid congestion in the city centre.
According to reports, some members of the Irigwe community were moving six corpses from Plateau Hospital for burial.
According to the Plateau State Police Command, 22 lives were lost in the attack and the perpetrators were “suspected Irigwe youths and their sympathisers.”
State Police Public Relations Officer ASP Ubah Gabriel said in a statement: “22 Muslim faithful were intercepted and killed.”.
They were returning from the Annual Zikr prayer in Bauchi State and travelling to Ikare in Ondo State in a convoy of five buses. The attack resulted in 22 deaths and 14 injuries.
“As soon as the report was received, a team of police, military, and other agencies were mobilised to the scene, where 21 victims were rescued and six suspects arrested,” he said.
Edward Egbuka, the Commissioner of Police, and Major General Ibrahim Ali, the GOC of 3-Division, have visited the scene and ordered a discreet investigation to find other culprits.
A reporter who visited the Plateau Specialist Hospital observed that 25 corpses had been macheted, and many showed head injuries.
The 25 victims were buried after they were brought to the Dadin Kowa cemetery for burial following a funeral prayer according to Islamic rites within the hospital grounds.
The Secretary-General of Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI) in Plateau State, Alhaji Sani Mudi, said the remains of the victims were buried at Dadin Kowa Cemetery to avoid escalating tension in Jos.
Mudi, who was at the Janazah (funeral prayer) for the victims, condemned the attack and asked residents to remain calm. In addition, he urged security agents to find the perpetrators.
Mohammed Sani, a resident of Jos, said security operatives in Jos turned a blind eye to the pending disaster when it was obvious.
More than 3,000 Irigwe natives, including men and women, participated in an illegal procession. After taking corpses from Plateau Hospital, they passed through Ibrahim Taiwo Police Headquarters, Polo Ground, and Gada-Biyu.
“They wept, cried, and sang war songs. There was serious gridlock along the route, and emotions were high. Plateau State government banned procession due to tension in the state, but nothing stopped the Irigwe. “Security personnel should know that allowing open procession is a recipe for disaster,” he said.