Thirteen more suspects have been arrested by the police in connection with the killing of over 22 persons in Jos, Plateau State, by suspected Irigwe militia on Saturday, bringing the total number of suspects in custody to 33.
This is just as a coalition of 52 Northern Groups warned that it would not tolerate any further attack on highways in the northern region.
The organisation also demanded investigation and prosecution of the persons behind the killing.
Also, the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, deployed additional operational assets, including a helicopter, two units of Police Mobile Force and two cells of Counter-Terrorism Unit in the state.
The surveillance helicopter is expected to provide support to the ground troops carrying out coordinated operations in the hotspots.
The force spokesman, Frank Mba, said this in a statement on Monday titled, ‘Plateau attacks: IGP deploys surveillance helicopter, says police committed to restoring order.’
It reads partly, “The Inspector General of Police, Usman Baba, has ordered the deployment of additional operational assets including a police surveillance helicopter, two units of Police Mobile Force and two cells of Counter-Terrorism Unit to Plateau State.
“The IGP noted that 13 additional suspects have been arrested in connection with the incident, bringing the total number of arrested persons to 33. He assured that the NPF is committed to working with other patriotic stakeholders toward restoring public order in Plateau and other parts of the country.”
Mba added that the Head of the Police Intervention Team, DIG Sanusi Lemu, was already on the ground in Plateau, “coordinating the investigative, operational and peace-building response.”
Meanwhile, the spokesman for the Coalition of 52 Northern Groups, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, in Abuja on Monday also cautioned political and religious leaders against making unguarded statements that could instigate unnecessary reprisals.
According to him, the CNG had taken stock of the incessant attacks and “unrelenting deadly highway ambushes and cold blood massacre of innocent Nigerians travelling through most Plateau State communities and major highways.”
The CNG spokesperson said matters had “reached a point where silence has become complicity and inaction no longer an option.”
He said, “We demand a thorough investigation, arrest and diligent prosecution of the criminals that block and kill innocent travellers on such public highways as the Rukuba junction in Gada biyu, Abuja and Barikin Ladi Roads in Plateau State and other locations in Kaduna and Benue states.
“We demand action from the Federal Government to ensure a permanent end to the incessant highway attacks, including the arrest of traditional rulers and all elected representatives from the communities that harbour the terrorists, and where resistance is shown, the communities be demolished and replaced by military posts.
“We demand the promulgation of special penal laws for the punishment of such offences that involve the ambush and killings of innocent public highway users.”
Also, the Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, on Monday said his administration was working to stop the killings.
He spoke on Monday after visiting some areas affected by the violence, as well as the Bingham University Teaching Hospital and the Plateau State Specialists, where some of the injured victims were receiving treatment.
The governor insisted that his administration had done a lot to address insecurity in the state.
Lalong said, “Since the first one that happened in Bassa to this time, we have arrested people and I have asked that all those people should be prosecuted. We will go after others because we don’t want to allow this kind of thing again to come back to the people of Plateau State. The people of Plateau State have been living in peace for a while now.
“I want to assure the people of Plateau State that they should not be sacred. People should stop sending wrong messages.”
The governor maintained that the curfew earlier imposed on the three local government areas would remain “while we monitor the situation.”
More killings on Monday
Meanwhile, the governor was still at the Plateau State Specialist Hospital when a man, Peter Ibrahim, brought a corpse, saying he was killed in Congo Russia community in Jos North LGA.
Ibrahim told journalists that the victim was the third he had brought to the hospital on Monday alone saying that silent killings were still going on in the community.
He urged the government to stop the killings in the area.
One of our correspondents also gathered that a young man was shot dead in Dong community, in Jos North LGA on Monday.
A resident, Silas Nuhu, said, “Some group of herdsmen were grazing in the area and some youths tried to stop them from grazing on crops. But they started shooting and killed the young man.
The Military Information Officer of the Operation Safe Haven, Major Ishaku Takwa, said that none of the incidents had been reported to the taskforce.