At least 25 travellers, out of 90 from Ondo and Ekiti states, were allegedly intercepted by Irigwe youths, along Rukuba road, off Gada-biyu, in Jos North Local Government Arae (LGA) of Plateau State.
The attack that led to killing of the travelleves occured at about 8:30am on Saturday, according to Muhammad Ibrahim, an escapee who spoke with Blueprint.
Ibrahim said their five 18-seater buses were coming back from Bauchi state after attending an event to celebrate the Islamic new year in Bauchi, at Sheikh Dahiru Usman Bauchi, Mosque.
The Plateau state police Spokesman ASP, Ubah Ogaba, has confirmed the incident.
He said: “On 14/08/2021 at about 0928hrs, the Plateau State Police Command received a distress call that a group of attackers suspected to be Irigwe youths and their sympathisers along Rukuba Road of Jos North LGA attacked a convoy of five buses with Muslim faithful who were coming back from the Annual Zikr prayer in Bauchi state and are heading to Ikare in Ondo state.
“Unfortunately, 22 persons were killed and Fourteen injured in the attack.”
ASP Ogaba said a team of Police personnel, the military and other sister agencies were immediately mobilised to the scene where seven victims were rescued and six suspects arrested.
The Commissioner of Police, Plateau State Command, CP Edward Egbuka, along with the GOC 3-Division, Major General Ibrahim Ali, also visited the scene and ordered for a discreet investigation to fish out other perpetrators of this barbaric act at large.
He said normalcy have since been restored in the area.
But, the state chapter chairman of Miyeti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), Malam Nura Abdullahi, said the number of those killed is 25.
“You can see that we have prepared up to 25 dead bodies that are ready for burial.
“They were intercepted along Rukuba road, off Gada-biyu, in Jos, while on their way back to their respective states.
“Our concern now is that out of 90 persons in the five buses, only 25 dead bodies were recovered and 10 others that are injured.
“We are demanding that the state government and security agencies must recover the remaining 55 persons,” he said.
Reacting to the situation, state governor Simon Lalong, condemned the attack and killings.
In a statement issued by his director of press, Dr. Makut Macham, warned trouble makers bent on fomenting trouble in Plateau state to desist as the government will not allow any form of lawlessness that would disrupt the peace of the state.
“Governor Lalong while reacting to the reported skirmishes around Rukuba road general area in Jos where some persons were reportedly killed including innocent commuters, condemned the act and immediately directed security agencies to swiftly identify and arrest the perpetrators while dominating the area to restore calm,” the statement said.
Lalong said the attacks on innocent citizens no matter their backgrounds will never be tolerated in Plateau state and those who are found to be behind such attacks will be dealt with decisively to serve as deterrence and to restore public order.
The governor however commended security agencies for their immediate response leading to the arrest of some suspects and the restoration of calm to the area.
While commiserating with the families of those affected, the governor assured all law abiding citizens that security has been beefed up around the area as well as the entire metropolis to forestall further breach of the peace.
He reminded the citizens to remain vigilant and be security conscious in reporting suspicious persons and behaviour within their domains to enable law enforcement agencies respond appropriately.
Lalong directed the Secretary to the Government of the State Prof. Danladi Abok Atu to visit the areas and ascertain the situation as well as ensure that those injured receive adequate medical attention.