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Silent Killings: A New Threat To The North

| November 18, 2012 More

Mohammed-Abubakar-Inspector-General-of-PoliceThere is no gainsaying that for the past couple of years, gruesome killings have continued unabated in the northern part of the country. The threat to security has continued with a worrisome trend taking place where lives are being snuffed out in controversial circumstances. People are being gunned down in the streets, families set ablaze in their homes, and hundreds of lives lost in yet-to-be-ascertained circumstances. While efforts are being made to conduct investigations to unravel the mystery behind these deaths, these ‘silent’ killings have continued unabated. ACHOR ABIMAJE Jos; SALISU IBRAHIM, Kano and NAJIB SANI, Bauchi report.

Inter-tribal Clashes In Plateau
Silent killings have been a thing of concern to the Plateau state government and its people. In the last month, not a day passed without a report of a murder taking place in some villages in BarkinLadi and Riyom local government of the state.

Three dead bodies suspected to be Fulanis were found by their kinsmen on the 7th November 2012.

LEADERSHIP Sunday investigations reveal that the victims may have been killed in a reprisal attack carried out at night by unknown gunmen at Shonong village, Bachi district of Riyom LGA. One of the villagers, Usman Yakubu Muhammed, gave names of the victims as Zainab Yusuf Idris, Salifu Yusuf Idris and KabiruAbdulahi.

According to Yakubu, “The attackers lay ambush near a bridge and attacked our people returning from FadanKarshi market at about 8pm on Tuesday.”

He said, “Two of the victims are members of one family who were attacked on their motor cycles on their way home from the market,” adding that the attackers killed the first two victims and threw their bodies under the bridge.

“We went in company of a member of the STF to evacuate their bodies from the water under the bridge early Wednesday because the water is not deep enough to make them float. Their bodies were ridden with bullet wounds,” he said.

Yakubu also said, “The three deceased persons have since been buried by their families, while those injured in the attack, YakubuMuhammed and Alhassan Yusuf Idris are currently receiving treatment at Sunna Clinic in BarkinLadi.

Fulani community leader in Bachi, Ardo Muhammed Bello told LEADERSHIP Sunday through a phone conversation, “We are mourning the loss of our loved ones again, this time, the wife of Alhaji Yusuf, was killed with her baby strapped to her back; the baby was not even spared.” he added.

A similar attack carried out on Monday 4th November night claimed a family of four, leaving two members of the family in critical condition at Vom Christian Hospital.

The rate of killings by unknown gunmen in Riyom and Barkin Ladi LGAs have not only risen, it has been a regular incidence in the last two months leading to the death of not less than 30 people including women, children and members of security agencies.

At the same time, the Plateau state police command has arrested several numbers of killer gangs who are allegedly behind the killings in the two local governments.

In less than two days after six persons were hacked to death at a drinking joint at Gindinakwati in BarkinLadi Local Government, gunmen struck again killing a policeman and seven others. It was gathered that the assailants had laid ambush in various strategic parts of Jiwol village and attacked a group of policemen attached to the Jiwol outpost who were on routine patrol in the area and opened fire at them.

An eye witness told LEADERSHIP Sunday that the gunmen armed with sophisticated weapons overpowered the policemen on patrol and succeeded in killing one Corporal Istifanus Samaila before the others were forced into a nearby forest. LEADERSHIP Sunday checks also revealed that the gunmen, while leaving the scene, accosted another four innocent people at Sopp village and gunned them down as well, while one escaped narrowly with gunshot wounds.

A police source further disclosed that the gunmen destroyed farm lands in their paths while entering the two villages they attacked before they were eventually stopped by some of the natives who summoned courage to launch a counter attack. Also two men coming from Ganawuri market were found dead with bullet wounds close to their village at Jebu near Sop in Riyom LGA.

In the same vein, the Plateau State Police command has arrested three suspected criminals alleged to be a killer gang terrorizing residents of Bokkos local government on the 3rd November, 2012. The suspects were arrested with various arms including three locally made pistols, 32 cartridges and 2 live ammunition of 2.9mm calibre.

Police Public relation officer (PPRO) DSP Abuh Emmanuel while parading the suspects at the Plateau State Police Headquarters Jos, said, “Some residence of Butura-Gida ward of Bokkos Local Government contacted the police divisional office in Bokkos Division using distress lines made available to them.” According to him, the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in charge of Bokkos division, ASP Joshua Shinto responded promptly to the distress calls by leading a detachment of operatives to the scene.

“Though the suspects had fled the scene, the police detectives were able to trace the suspects to their hide outs and arrested one of them called Husseni Aliyu. Police said they were able to trace hide out of the suspects by tracing the blood stain of one of them who mistakenly shot himself while trying to shoot one of the victims. The arrested suspect led the police to arrest two other members of the gang whose names are Saidu Aliyu and Haruna Aliyu.

At least, four persons were killed and seven others badly injured on the 28th of October when gunmen suspected to be Fulani mercenaries stormed a local bar popularly called ‘Burukutu joint’ at Gindin Akwati in Gashish District of BarkinLadi. The gunmen, it was alleged, opened fire on all those inside the building. A source who spoke to our correspondent said the gunmen stormed the local bar late that Sunday night and opened fire on all those inside. The source further said, most of those killed were friends who had gone there to unwind.

Extra-judicial killings In Kano
A report by the Kano Civil Society Forum made available to LEADERSHIP Sunday had indicated that some actions and developments following the attack on Kano by the Jama’at Ahlissunahliddawahwal Jihad (known as Boko Haram), have sparked off many killings, some done in controversial circumstances following the introduction of security check points and other measures aimed at beefing up security in the ancient commercial city.

Observers of events in the state believe that while some actions of members of the Joint Task Force [JTF] were patriotic and directed towards protecting lives and properties of the citizenry, certain actions could have smacked of breach of citizen’s fundamental rights, as victims lost their lives in suspicious circumstances.

Political observers are quick to point at the effect of the situation on the social and economic activities of the state following the attack that resulted in the death of over 3,000 people according to the Nigerian Army across the country. An examination of the situation carried out in Kano however, revealed that, some of the disturbing developments have apparently affected many families as they lost their loved ones without clear reasons for such development.

“These actions relate to alleged or suspected incidents of extra-judicial killings, various acts of intimidation, harassment and extortions by the security personnel and sundry actions which impose collective punishment on entire communities, the forum said. In the opinion of some of the forum members, “If the situation goes unchecked or moderated, it will result to widespread misgivings among the people as the actions are capable of undermining public confidence and trust in the security operations and pose a grave danger to social harmony”, the Forum examined.

So far “From accounts of relations and neighbours of the deceased, a contingent of security personnel, with a helicopter hovering over the premises with search lights in the dead of the night, attacked the residence of one Alhaji Uzairu of Yakasai quarters, a trader, who lives in Hotoro, killed him, his pregnant wife and housemaid. As if these killings were not enough, their bodies were removed and have been withheld”, the Forum said.

Similar raids were carried out in some parts of the state, leading to house-to-house search of suspected criminals in a crackdown by the security operatives in the state.

Of recent, a woman, and two other men were reportedly killed in controversial circumstances and their killers were yet to be traced. A 12-year-old pure water vendor was also killed by the barrel of a police officer who was later dismissed from the service and prosecuted for negligence. There are several other killings in the metropolis of which the killers have not been identified.

While the Kano Civil Society Forum and concerned citizens express worries at frequent killings of innocent lives, they were quick at calling on the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Alhaji Mohammed Dikko Abubakar, relevant security agencies and the National Human Rights Commission to conduct an urgent investigation to establish the facts relating to the killing of apparent abuse of human Rights, citing the killing of Uzairu, his pregnant wife, housemaid as example. The forum also demanded for findings of the investigation to be made public as it also urged the National Human Rights Commission to carry out its statutory mandate to assist with the documentation.

In Bauchi, Ethno-religious Reasons Blamed
In Bauchi state last month, nine people were gunned down by unknown hoodlums at Zango area in the state capital. A few days later, the ex- Comptroller General of Prisons, Alhaji Ibrahim Jarma was killed at a mosque in Azare town of Katagum Local Government area of the state.

Although, the despicable acts were suspected to have been committed by terrorists, LEADERSHIP Sunday gathered that silent killings have been going on in the notorious Tafawa Balewa and Bogoro Local Governments in Bauchi as a result of ethno-religious clashes between the Sayawa and Fulani tribesmen.

In an interview with LEADERSHIP Sunday recently, the secretary of the Sayawa council of elders, Barrister BukataZyadi and the spokesman of the Fulanis, Hon AminuTukur in the local government, both confirmed that silent killings were going on in the troubled zone by unidentified hoodlums.

About two weeks ago, some hoodlums had reportedly attacked a bus, killing four passengers at Gwaltukuru village near Dass Local Government Area in Bauchi State.

Nine people were seriously injured after the bus with registration number AA 82 TFB belonging was set ablaze.

Culled from Leadership

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on Nov 18 2012. Filed under CRIME, EDITORIAL, FEATURE, FOR THE RECORDS, From The Press, Front Page Story, NEWS, News Across Nigeria, OPINION.
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