By Jude Owuamanam:

The Acting Commissioner of Police in Plateau State, Mr. Ikechukwu Aduba, has said that some “faceless influential persons” are behind the March 7 killings in three villages of Shen district in Jos South Local Government Area of the state.Scenes from the fresh crisis in Jos, Plateau State

Aduba, who briefed the press on the latest development in the state, said that confessional statements extracted from the suspects indicated that while some of them volunteered to take part in the massacre, others had influential sponsors.

The commissioner said, “Our joint efforts after the said incident of March 7, 2010, had yielded good results wherein some 200 people were arrested. They cut across two categories of offences.

“The first category comprises some 49 Fulani who were arrested immediately after the incident of Dogo Na Hauwa, and in their various statements (they) owned up that they carried out the invasion and killings in the aforesaid villages.

“They further stated that they were on a revenge mission, being a fall-out of the event of January 2010 whereupon some villages, namely Tim-Tim, Von and Kuru-Jenta were attacked and some of their inhabitants and cattle destroyed.

“Investigations have also revealed that some of the Fulani were paid while some were volunteers, but so far, they have not revealed the identities of their chief sponsors.

“The second category was made up of 151 people arrested at Mangu and other surrounding villages for the offences of unlawful assembly.

“Investigations have further revealed that they took the laws into their hands by taking up arms in apparent defence of their communities against possible reprisal attacks.”

Aduba said that some of the weapons recovered from the suspects included four double-barrelled guns, 35 single-barrelled shotguns, two locally-made double-barrelled guns, three locally-made single-barrelled pistols, making a total of 44.

He added that five 9mm ammunition, five AK-47 ammunition and 35 live cartridges were recovered from the suspects.

Other weapons recovered from the suspects, the acting commissioner said, included 26 bows and arrows, 14 machetes, 12 knives, three axes, four spears, charms and 129 swords.

Aduba also said that a body count of those given mass burial showed that they were 70, made up of 12 males, 26 female children, 19 female adults and 16 male adults.

He said 18 were privately buried at Barkin Ladi, 12 by relatives at Dogo Na Hauwa and nine others died in the course of treatment at the Plateau State Specialist Hospital.

He said that the dead were from four villages of Dogo Na Hauwa, Zot, Ratsat and Kutgot.

Meanwhile, a group, the Joint Revolutionary Council of Niger Delta, has condemned the killings of innocent people in Jos.

The group, in a statement signed by its spokesman, Mr. Bakabio Walter, and made available to THE PUNCH, said the tragedy was a reminder of the “severity of internal colonialism in the entity called Nigeria.”

It said, “How can we explain that the Nigerian military, led by the Fulani aristocracy, was informed of plans by Fulani militants to invade indigenous settlements in Jos and environs, yet there was no response. This is totally unacceptable and must be condemned by all genuine advocates of peace and justice.

“This is a litmus test for the Jonathan administration. The sack of Nigeria‘s National Security Adviser who used his inaction to support the Jos massacre might be a welcome development but it is definitely not enough. No amount of soldiers sent to Jos can bring an end to this conflict.

“If the Jonathan administration is committed to resolving the recurring ethnic violence in Jos, Niger Delta etc, the only logical thing to do is to convene a Sovereign National Conference of all the ethnic nationalities that were forcefully conscripted into Nigeria.

“However, we wish to state in unambiguous terms that our mission is to achieve independence for a Niger Delta Federation and not to seek relevance for the sake of patronage. We shall continue to strike until we achieve our ultimate goal.

“We note with curiosity, the continuous denial of knowledge of our attack on oil installations by the management of Shell and Agip and the Joint Task Force.

“No amount of money you give to them will prevent us from striking you more. Our actions will be sustained and will differentiate us from the criminal pretenders who are negotiating currently with the management of Agip.”

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