In what would have been a bloody day was averted in Jos, Plateau State capital, Sunday.
Although, one person was reported to have lost his life in the crisis, involving the Shi’ite members and muslim youths in the city, the timely arrival of Special Task Force, saved the day.
Crisis involving the military and the Shi’ite members engulfed Zaria, Kaduna State recently.
It seems to have spread to Jos.
Members of the sect were said to be protesting the continued detention of their leader El-Zakzaky, his wife and some other members before the incident, when a rival Muslim group engaged in a fight.
Media and Communications Officer of the Special Task Force, also known as ‘Operation Safe Haven’, Capt. Ikedichi Iweha, while confirming the incident on Sunday said one person was killed.
Iweha said the Commander of the task force, Maj. Gen. Tagbo Udeh, had ordered a ban on all forms of processions and rallies in the state, adding that such rallies or procession must get the tacit permission of the police.
Hundreds of Shi’ite women, clad in all black, had staged a protest in Jos, demanding the release of Zakzaky, his wife and members of the movement that were arrested when they clashed with the army on December 12 in Zaria for proper medical attention.
They had also demanded the corpses of their members who were allegedly killed by the soldiers for proper burial according to Islamic tradition.
Iweha stated that many members of the movement were also arrested when the otherwise peaceful procession turned violent at Bauchi road, leading to the death of one person.
He said the incident had created tension around Bauchi Road, Rikkos, Angwan Rogo, Dilimi, Nasarawa Gwom and many other Hausa dominated areas, leading to a clash between some rival Muslim sects.
He said the timely intervention of security operatives saved what would have been a very urgly situation, stressing that the commander had also ordered all-round patrol and surveillance by operatives of the task force.
The media officer said many of those arrested were being interrogated to ascertain their level of culpability in the incident, adding that at the end of the interrogation those found innocent would be released.
On Sunday, security men and tanks were seen at strategic places in the metropolis, while there were heavy security presence around virtually all the churches and other worship centres in Jos and its environs.
Iweha said, “The procession by the women later turned violent as rival Muslim youths clashed along Bauchi road as the Shi’tte members were proceeding to the Central Mosque and the commander has ordered round the clock security surveillance and patrol and we would not want to take chances.
“He has also ordered a ban on all forms of rallies, protest or procession in Jos and such rallies must get the permission of the police upon application,” he added.