From Pam Ayuba and Yusufu Aminu Idegu:

SOME suspects of last Sunday’s massacre in Jos, Plateau State, have confessed to the crime, the police said yesterday.

They are Fulani, State Police Commissioner Ikechukwu Aduba said.

“Some of the Fulanis were paid; others were volunteers,” he said, adding that “they are yet to reveal their chief sponsors, but have confessed they were on revenge mission”.

Gen. Onovo

Police Inspector-Gen. Onovo

“Our patrol efforts after the said 7th March incident yielded good results wherein some 200 people were arrested. This, however, cuts across two categories of offenders in the incident of Dogo Nahawa and in their various statements owned up to carrying out the invasion and killings in the aforesaid villages,” Aduba said.

The commissioner said 44 arms, five ammunition, 35 live cartridges as well as 26 bows and arrows were seized from the suspects. There were also 14 machetes, 12 knives, three axes, 129 swords, four spears and charms.

The police chief confirmed that 109 people were killed in Dogo Nahawa, Zot and Rassat villages in Jos South and Barkin Ladi local government areas.

The figures are “authentic”, Aduba said, adding that the 500 reported by the media as confirmed by the Plateau State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Hon. Gregory Yenlong, “is incorrect and, therefore, should be disregarded”.

Aduba said the command was not” “alerted of any security threats before the attack on Sunday”.

He condemned the “reprisals” as “evil”.

But Yenlong disagreed with Aduba. He said: “The police commissioner was not anywhere near the burial ground and did not visit the scene of the crisis. So, what is he talking about?

“We went there with journalists. They were there and they took statistics of the bodies. How can the commissioner say I am lying. He is lying because even the claim that the Fulanis did not come from Bauchi as he said two days ago was a lie.

“The district head of Fobur and the Fulani Hardo yesterday (Tuesday) came out to deny that the Fulanis were from Angware or Fobur as claimed by the police. Who is deceiving who?”

According to Aduba, the police have arrested two categories of suspects. In the first category, there are 49, who have been identified “clearly Fulanis” who must have “infiltrated from Bauchi”.

In the second category are those arrested in Mangu, numbering 151, for unlawful possession of “firearms and assembly” in “apparent defence of their communities”.

Aduba spoke to reporters in his office.

According to him, investigations so far have revealed “some of the Fulanis “were paid while some were volunteers”.

“So far, they are yet to reveal their chief sponsors but have confessed they were on revenge mission,” he said.

The police chief also revealed that “the total number of people killed by the Fulanis during the raids of three villages of Dogo Nahawa, Zot, Rassat and Kutgot is 109.

Breaking down the figures, Aduba said: “Those buried in the mass grave site are 12 male children, 26 female children, 16 female adults and 16 male adults.

“Those privately buried by their respective relations at Barkin Ladi are 18 in number. Those privately buried by relations at Dogo Nahawa village are 12. Those who died while receiving treatment at the Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH) are nine, bringing the total to 109”

“This figure is authentic and undisputed,” Aduba said.

He stressed that even the sudden and natural death of a Nigerian is enough to mourn, but that there is the need to “put the record straight”.

“Hence, the unwholesome figure of 500 and 371 variously credited to the state Commissioner for Information is fabricated and should be disregarded,” Aduba said.

But the Commissioner for Information insisted: “Aduba was lying; I can not fabricate the figures.”

He urged the people to give peace a chance, particularly with National Youth Service Corps members coming into the state.

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