No fewer than 22 travellers were killed by yet-to-be-identified persons along the Gada-Biyu – Rukuba road area of Jos, the Plateau state capital on Saturday, August 14.
About 50 of the travellers were moving in a convoy of 5 hummer buses when they were attacked. 22 of them were killed while others sustained serious injuries. The assailants reportedly dragged the victims out of their vehicles which were trapped in a gridlock and then killed many of them using machetes, daggers, knives, stones and other dangerous weapons.
According to reports, the victims are said to be Fulani mostly born and brought up in Ondo and Ekiti states who were returning home after attending the annual Zikr (prayer session) organized by Sheikh Dahiru Usman Bauchi to mark the commencement of Muharram, the new Islamic New Year.
Confirming the attack, the spokesperson of the state police command, ASP Ubah Gabriel, in a statement released, said;
“22 Islamic faithful were intercepted and killed. They were travelling in a convoy of five buses and returning from the Annual Zikr prayer in Bauchi State and heading to Ikare in Ondo State. Unfortunately, 22 persons were killed and 14 injured in the attack.
Upon receipt of the report, a team of police personnel, the military and other sister agencies were immediately mobilised to the scene where 21 victims were rescued and six suspects arrested”
A funeral prayer according to Islamic rites was held for the victims within the hospital premises before they were conveyed to the Dadin Kowa burial ground in Jos South for burial.
Reacting to the sad incident, the President in a statement released by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said he has ordered that the perpetrators be fished out by the security agents. Read the statement below…
”The Presidency condemns the attack earlier Saturday on travellers from a religious event in Bauchi, passing through Jos, the Plateau State Capital and regrets the reported deaths of at least twenty-two persons with several others injured in that ambush on their travelling party.
It is widely known that Plateau State has been one of the states affected by herder-farmer clashes, which have, in a significant way, been curtailed following the intense peace-building efforts of the administration of Governor Simon Lalong.
However, to be clear, this is not an agriculturalist-on-pastoralist confrontation – but rather a direct, brazen and wickedly motivated attack on members of a community exercising their rights to travel freely and to follow the faith of their choosing.
With the evident preparedness of their attackers, it is clear this was a well-conceived and prearranged assault on a known target, location and religious persuasion of the travellers not an opportunist ambush.
The Presidency offers condolences to the families of the victims and continues to liaise closely with the local authorities – including security, the police, and governmental agencies.
These kinds of attacks on our country’s citizens are unacceptable, heinous, and stand in complete contradiction to the teachings of the great religions of our nation.
The Presidency stands steadfast with both Christians and Muslims at this time in condemnation of this latest attack and expects and insists that justice is swiftly – but fairly – delivered to the perpetrators.
“Make no mistake about it: in line with my commitment to protect all Nigerians, I have ordered our security agencies to fish out the perpetrators of this gruesome massacre of innocent travellers and bring them to justice,” President Buhari said.
As the facts of the sad incident continue to unfold, the Presidency commends the ongoing efforts by the Governors of Plateau, Bauchi, and Ondo; the Sultan of Sokoto His Eminence Sa’ad Abubakar III and Sheikh Dahiru Bauchi as well as a number of notable Christian and Muslim leaders as they intensify efforts to calm down the situation.”
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