Tension Builds in Plateau as Soldiers Shoot at Demostrators

Tension is mounting in Plateau following the continued demonstration by youths of Bokkos community following the killing of their Monarch, his wife and orderly by suspected herdsmen on Monday and Wednesday’s attack of some residents of the town.
The Saf Ron Kulere, and Chairman of Bokkos Traditional Council, Sir Lazarus Agai, was killed in his village, Sha. Agai was the traditional ruler of Bokkos.
He was said to have been waylaid and killed while returning from his farm in Sha.
Reports filtering in from Bokkos have it that soldiers shot at the protesting youths, Thursday morning.
An unconfirmed report said one person was killed while five others injured during the shooting.
However, another report said that three of seven people who were injured in the attack, died, bringing the death toll to four.
Meanwhile, curfew has been imposed in the local government council that has been relative ly praceful in the past months until the Monday killings.
It was learnt that soldiers serving with the Special Task Force (STF) on Jos crisis, opened fire on rampaging youth who blocked a road in Bokkos in protest of the killing of the Monarch and night attack there Wednesday.
At least one person was killed and five others injured, an eyewitness stated.
An eye witness said youths refused to allow soldiers into the area, pressing them instead to provide the killers of their kinsmen.
“They shot on our people, one of them died instantly,” he said.
The weekly Thursday market in the town could not open due to the crisis.
A spokesperson for the STF, Ikedichi Iweha, denied that soldiers killed the youth.
He however confirmed the death of three of the youth who barricaded the routes.
Iweha said that youths were about to lynch some persons they suspected of being responsible for the killings, when soldiers intervened.
He said the youth shot at soldiers, injuring some of them.
“Our troops didn’t open fire aiming at anyone, they shot in the air to arrest an ugly situation. They youth were about to lynch some persons, our troops intervened; and the rampaging youth opened fire on our men and injured personnel. Three of the protesting youth were found dead, but not as a result of gun shot from our troop,” he said.
Iweha however said the situation had been brought under control, as officers have taken over Bokkos town.
Plateau State has enjoyed relative calm in recent times after years of ethno-religious conflict that claimed the lives of thousands.
On Wednesday night, unknown assailants reportedly destroyed homes and attacked residents of the area.
In protest, youth barricaded roads leading to the area in the morning of Thursday and blocked the convoy of the Police Commisioner of Plateau state, Adekunle Oladunjoye.
In addition, the Deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of operations Habila Joshak, is presently in Bokkos.
Joshak was deployed from Abuja to ensure the arrest of the killers of the monarch.
At Bokkos council Police Station where the youth gathered, Joshak sued for peace, and assured that masterminds of the crime would be arrested and prosecuted.
He also visited the palace of the late paramount ruler where he pleaded for calm.
The DIG said the police was deploying a chopper for an aerial patrol of the local government council for the next two weeks, with the aim of arresting those behind the attacks.
He solicited the cooperation of residents to enable police fish out those behind the attacks. Residents demanded the deployment of more mobile police officers to the local government to protect them.

Author: News Editor

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