In the aftermath of the devastating Christmas Eve attacks in Plateau State, a Coalition of Plateau State Indigenous Youths/Ethnic Nationalities has revealed that nearly 20,000 people have been displaced.
The coalition has also called for a public probing of personnel of Operation Safe Haven (OPSH) Sector 5 Commander in Bokkos LGA, Lt Col T.T Pave, and his men for their alleged involvement in the attacks.
According to the coalition, conducting the aforementioned investigation will restore confidence among residents in OPSH’s capability to maintain peace in the state.
This was contained in a communique issued at the end of the coalition’s emergency meeting, held in Mangu LGA regarding the recent killings and the increase in insecurity in the state.
The communique, signed by Paul J. Dekete, Chairman, and Duwam Bosco, Secretary, was read to journalists in Jos, the state capital.
The communique stated, “The coalition observes with deep concern the actions of military personnel on the Plateau, based on their actions and responses during distress situations.”
“The youths have lost trust and confidence in the personnel, especially personnel of sector 5 in Bokkos LGA; as the sector Commander Lt Col T.T Pave was accused by an eyewitness among the affected communities of giving cover and aiding the killing by the Fulani militias, on the claim that the military operation is to protect the minority as claimed by him.”
According to the coalition, “Eyewitnesses from affected communities also alleged that men under Lt Col T.T Pave’s command do arrest and kill locals, as seen in the case of the late Mr. Samuel Longleng, who was confronted and fired at will by men under his command at Garah–kawel, of Mushere district of Bokkos LGA, among other cases, while arrested Fulani are released within the shortest possible time.”
“We are calling for his public probing and possible discipline to serve as a deterrent and restore confidence in the Military Operation within the State,” the group maintained.
“The attention of the Coalition has been drawn to the harsh molestation of our people in Bokkos LGA by personnel deployed for peace restoration in the area, after the massacre; such personnel should be called to order,” the coalition advised.
The Coalition also raised concerns about the destruction of farms and houses of victims/displaced persons. “We also observed that there is a deliberate attempt by the Fulani militias to prevent victims from returning to their ancestral land/homes by looting their properties and food items. The Coalition is calling on the Government to take necessary action aimed at stopping the looting of properties of victims/displaced persons.”
According to the group, “So far, statistics show that more than 200 locals were killed in Bokkos alone, with over 300 houses, 1,290 cars burnt, 19,995 people displaced, now taking refuge at the mini-stadium in Bokkos, apart from those who had fled to relatives in other parts of the State and Country.”
“While displaced persons from various villages are taking refuge in Bokkos town, information at the coalition’s disposal indicates that some armed Fulani are being hosted at Maling (Angwan Hausawa). We are calling on security agents to search and disarm them, to avoid future attacks and the killing of innocent citizens.”
The coalition further calls for the establishment of the North Central Development Commission to help ameliorate the sufferings of victims of attacks in the region.
“In view of the wanton destruction of lives and properties in Plateau state and across the North Central region of the Country, we are calling on the Federal Government under the leadership of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for the establishment of the commission to cater to the millions of people displaced and living as internally displaced persons camps in their ancestral land, as done in the North-East region of the country.”
They believe that establishing this commission will restore confidence in the current administration and expedite development and restoration of normalcy.
The coalition commended the efforts of Col. U.S. Abdulsalam, the Sector 4 Commander, for his swift response in averting further escalation of the invasion that hit part of Barkin Ladi LGA.