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Fresh killings in Jos

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HOODLUMS suspected to be Fulani herdsmen attacked Ariri community of Bassa local government area of Plateau State on Wednesday night.

The latest attack which claimed the lives of at least 18 people, leaving four persons injured, is one of the recent outbreaks of violence in Jos, the capital of Plateau and some other parts of the state since last week.  It occurred around 11:30 pm, according to reports.

Witnesses said the attackers wore black uniforms and shot their victims while most of them were asleep, but the identity of the attackers could not be verified at the time of this report.

This attack is coming three days after President Muhammadu Buhari condemned the recent spate of violence that rocked Jos, leading to deaths of several locals. At least 14 people were killed by gunmen in a Tuesday night attack in Jol Village of Riyom Local Government, despite calls for peace from the various civil society groups.

On September 30, attempts were made by suspected herders to attack a major hostel at the University of Jos,  one person eventually died and three others critically injured,  according to a statement released by the Students Union body.

Shedrach Kums, a 300-level law student who lost his life in the attack, was amongst the students trying to prevent the attackers from gaining entrance through the gate of one of the hostels, according to reports.

On September 28, Governor Simon Lalong , imposed a dusk to dawn curfew across the state’s capital following repeated clashes that authorities feared had taken sectarian dimension. The invasion of the university campus on Sunday was in spite of the security restrictions.

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Plateau is one of the states in the North Central, Nigeria that have witnessed deadly attacks by suspected herdsmen. Over 2,000 deaths linked to suspected herdsmen have been recorded across the region this year alone.

While residents have reported relative peace in Benue and Taraba in recent weeks, following multiple deployments of security forces by the Nigerian government, attacks on villages in Plateau continue.

Some of the deaths have come through reprisal attacks between traditional dwellers and herdsmen seeking to graze their cattle in the state’s lush vegetation.

The minister of interior, Abdulrahman Dambazau, a retired Major General, in a statement by his Press Secretary, Ehisienwen Osaigbovo, in Abuja on Wednesday, directed the Police and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) to take proactive measures to curtail the escalating violence in Plateau.

In the statement, Dambazzau urged security operatives to double their intelligence gathering mechanism by working closely with their host communities to ensure that prompt actions are taken to nip such crises in the bud.

He commiserated with the people and assured them of President Buhari’s administration’s effort to put an end to violent crises in Plateau and other parts of the country.

Amos Abba is a journalist with the International Center for Investigative Reporting, ICIR, who believes that courageous investigative reporting is the key to social justice and accountability in the society.

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