Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja and Seriki Adinoyi in Jos
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday condemned gunmen attack on a village in Plateau State, where 15 lives were lost.
The gunmen, suspected to be herdsmen, attacked Kwatas village in Bokkos Local Government Area of the state. The attack came barely two weeks after a similar incident on Kunben village in Mangu Local Government Area, in which 12 people were killed.
The president, in a statement, said terrorism, banditry, kidnapping and associated crimes would be defeated.
“In Plateau State, gunmen launched yet another bloody attack, killing innocent citizens. This shocking and sad incident should be condemned by all citizens,’’ he said.
Buhari, according to a statement by a presidential spokesman, Malam Garba Shehu, reiterated that “revenge, hatred and violent attacks should have no place in a multi-ethnic, multicultural and multi-religious society as we have in this country.’’
The president appealed to community and religious leaders to counsel the youths on the need for peaceful co-existence.
Buhari sent condolences to families of the victims, government and people of Plateau State, urging security agencies on assignment in the state to rediscover their act and stop, forthwith, the return of the ugly days of tit-for-tat.
Giving details of the attack, a resident of Kwatas, who simply identified himself as Mr. Malau, told THISDAY on the phone that the incident, which occurred on Sunday night, claimed 13 lives on the spot while two other persons, who was injured, died at the hospital.
He added that scores of other injured persons were in critical conditions in the hospital.
Malau called for help for the people who are overwhelmed by calamities.
He said while the youths were still protesting the abduction and killings of their kinsmen by Boko Haram, more killings were being perpetrated in the state by suspected herdsmen.
Confirming the attack, Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) in the state, Mr. Ubah Ogaba, said the command received report that unknown gunmen suspected to be herdsmen, attacked Kwatas village.
He added that 15 persons lost their lives while five persons were critically injured and receiving treatment at General Hospital, Bokkos.
“Immediately the command received the information, the Commissioner of Police Plateau State command, CP Isaac Akinmoyede, deployed detectives, conventional policemen and PMF (Police Mobile Force) personnel to the area with the directive to restore peace and effect arrest of the perpetrators.
“Meanwhile, the command is soliciting for vital information that will aid the police in arresting whosoever is involved in the attack to face the wrath of the law. The command is urging the good people of Bokkos LGA to remain calm and continue with their lawful businesses as the security men are on the ground to restore peace,” he stated.
Condemning the attack, Governor Simon Lalong described it as yet another attempt by criminals who did not mean well for the state to take it back to the dark days of insecurity that it had been substantially overcome.
The governor, while commiserating with victims and their families, directed security agencies to arrest the killers and prosecute them as the state will no longer tolerate such wanton loss of lives.
In a statement issued by his Director of Press, Dr. Simon Macham, the governor said: “My heart again bleeds by this tragedy as lives of innocent citizens are cut short for no reason. Security agencies must go after those who are behind these attacks and their sponsors so they can face the law and be taught a lesson. We do not need another circle of bloodshed in Plateau State as all well-meaning citizens have committed to peaceful coexistence and tolerance. My administration will not allow anyone, no matter how highly placed to jeopardise this peace.”
He restated his determination to work with the federal government and other stakeholders in strengthening community policing architecture in the state with robust intelligence gathering and early intervention to forestall re-occurrence.