- Bodies of 20 murdered persons buried amidst tight security
- State govt appeals for calm
Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja and Seriki Adinoyi in Jos
President Muhammadu Buhari has directed law enforcement agents to apprehend perpetrators of killings on Thursday night in Ancha village in Plateau State, including their sponsors.
Buhari, according to a statement by his media aide, Malam Garba Shehu, expressed the determination of the federal government to protect the lives and property of all citizens in all parts of the country.
No fewer than 20 persons were said to have been hacked to death in the reprisal attack on Ancha village in Miango district by suspected Fulani gunmen, with at least nine others severely injured.
Buhariâ€™s directive came on a day the corpses of 20 persons murdered in the attack were given a mass burial, amidst tight security.
While the injured are recuperating at Enos Clinic in Bassa, the villagers, who wept openly at the graveside, lamented the loss of their loved ones in such a gruesome manner that beat their imagination. They charged the state government and security agents to avenge their death.
President Buhari, in his reaction, said he was saddened by the senseless killings especially of women and children.
The president, the statement added, also said he was disappointed by the disruption of peace and normalcy that had hitherto prevailed in the state, and urged stakeholders not to allow this violent incident to alter the progress made so far. He said it was unlawful of anyone to resort to any form of aggression instead of following due process.
He recalled past efforts made by communities and security agents in the state to ensure peace and harmony among residents, saying it will be sad if the gory tales of the past return to the state.
â€œIt is unlawful of anyone or group to take the laws into their hands in the name of revenge or reprisals, rather than follow due process by allowing law enforcement agencies to fish out any such aggressors who will be made to face justice. â€œThe various communities in the state have taken many steps, with the support of security agencies and mediators to pull the state back from the brink of anarchy and senseless killings warranted by attacks and counterattacks.
â€œIt will be a painful loss to allow these unsavoury acts to return. I urge all our communities in the state and the other parts of the country to embrace peace and bring to a stop these painful and unnecessary killings,â€ he said. He prayed God to grant peace to the souls of the victims and comfort to grieving families and community.
Meanwhile, Plateau state government has appealed to citizens of the state for calm in the face of obvious provocation. In a statement by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mr. Rufus Bature, the state, which condemned the heinous crime, stated that the act was capable of undermining the on-going peace consolidation effort of the government. â€œGovernment is shocked and outraged by the renewed sense of violence and thus call on all responsible citizens to remain calm in the face of this recent incident,â€ he said.
The SSG assured that government had instructed security agencies to take appropriate steps to prevent further attack and reprisal attacks in the area and any other part of the state. â€œGovernment will not relent in its effort to deal decisively with any individual whose actions will amount to reversing the gains of the relative peace currently enjoyed in the state.â€
While condoling with the affected families, the SSG, who led Director General of Plateau State Peace Building Agency (PSPBA), Mr. Joseph Lengmang, and top security leaders in the state to the village for on-the-spot assessment, said government was investigating into the remote cause of the recent attack.
Lengmang disclosed that the governor was planning to engage the various groups in the crisis with the aim of ensuring dialogue, in order to achieve a lasting and enduring peace in the area.