By Paul Arhewe, Otei Oham, Chesa Chesa and Audu Onoja:
• Women Protest In Jos
• U.S. Seeks Probe
• Rights Activists Demand Sack Of GOC
Governor Jonah Jang of Plateau State has alleged that the Army’s indifference to his distress calls led to the murder of about 500 Dogon-Hauwa villagers on Sunday.
He asked the soldiers to double their efforts and avoid a recurrence or leave the state.
Jang, a retired Air Force Commodore, narrated to journalists in Abuja on Tuesday that he received reports at about 9 p.m. that some people with arms were seen around the villages, “and I reported to the Commander of the Army and he told me he was going to move some troops there.
“Because it is near where I live, I even saw an (Army) tank pass through my house and I thought it was going towards that area.
“Three hours or so later, I was woken by a call that they had started burning the villages and people were being hacked to death. I tried to locate the Army Commanders but couldn’t get any of them on the telephone.”
Jang said the murder “could have been avoided if they (soldiers) had acted on my report.”
He lamented that Governors “are highly incapacitated. You are the Chief Security Officer of a state, but you don’t command even a fly. What do you use to stop anything?
“The security report that I gave, I didn’t even get it officially; it was the villagers themselves that saw the movements and reported. I didn’t receive any security report about what was going to happen.
“So the security people should have to double their efforts, particularly the Army that has taken over security in Plateau State because the police are unable to cope.
“I expect that the Army should live up to expectation and stop the carnage in Plateau. If they cannot, then they should as well get out of the place.”
Jang dismissed a newspaper report that the latest attack was in retaliation for the deaths in January.
“To the best of my knowledge on what happened in Kurujenta I don’t think Fulanis were involved. Kurujenta is a tin mining camp, and If you look at the houses that were burnt, everybody who lived there was involved.
“You could not say it was one-sided because the houses burnt cut across, which means the killings cut across. Some people moved Al Jazeera (television) there, and then covered dead bodies and started labelling them.
“When you cover dead bodies and label them, who knows who you are covering? And today (Tuesday) Daily Trust reported that it was because Fulanis were killed in Kurujenta.
“Fulanis don’t live in Kurujenta. So, to say it was a reprisal for what happened in Kurujenta was a distortion of facts. Some people came from across the border of Plateau State and attacked the villages.”
In protest, hundreds of women dressed in black on Tuesday marched against soldiers on the streets in Jos.
League For Women Rights Director, Chamati Ghadaffi, told a press conference that the people have lost confidence in the ability of soldiers to restore peace in the city.
And League of Human Rights demanded the immediate removal of the General Officer Commanding (GOC) Amoured Division in Jos, Major General Sali Maina.
Washington and other human rights activists urged Abuja to investigate and prosecute those responsible for the killings.
The United States embassy in Abuja, issued a statement calling on the Nigerian Government to seek justice “under the rule of law and in a transparent manner” and the Plateau Government to ensure that all people in Jos feel they are respected and protected.
“After the January killings, the villages should have been properly protected,” United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay added.
“Clearly, previous efforts to tackle the underlying causes have been inadequate, and in the meantime the wounds have festered and grown deeper,” he said.
Human Rights Watch urged Acting President Goodluck Jonathan to provide protection for those in the small villages surrounding Jos, a city now the fault line for religious violence in the North.
Survivors of the attacks on Sunday in three mostly Christian villages said security forces never protected them.
“It’s time to draw a line in the sand,” Human Rights Watch researcher, Corinne Dufka, said in a statement.
“The authorities need to protect these communities, bring the perpetrators to book, and address the root causes of violence.”
The House of Representatives urged the Federal Government to set up a Truth and Reconciliation Committee to ascertain those behind the incessant killings on the Plateau.
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