11 March 2010

Nigeria: Jos Crisis - Police, Plateau Govt Disgree On Death Toll

Jos — How many people were killed in the latest Jos, Plateau crisis? This is the question the Plateau State government and the police have failed to agree on.

While the state government said 500 persons were killed, the police said only 109 persons died, claiming it was not aware that the attack on Dogo Nahawa was planned and communicated to the inhabitants of the area as the government alleged.

Acting Commissioner of Police, Ikechukwu Aduba said the casualty figure of 500 as released earlier by the state Commissioner of Information and Communications, Gregory Yenlong was wrong compared to what the police findings revealed.

Yenlong reiterated the stand of the state government and challenged the police boss to verify details from the journalists who went to the village for on the spot assessment visit. He accused the police of not being humane enough to say the truth.

However, Aduba while briefing the press said the corpses counted during the mass burial were 70, comprising 12 male children, 26 female children, 16 female adults and 16 male adults.

He said there were 18 casualties privately buried by relations at Barki-Ladi in addition to 12 that were buried at Dogo Nahawa, as well as nine others who died at the Jos University Teaching Hospital while receiving treatment.

He said the take over by the military of the internal security of the state was making it difficult for the police to effectively carry out its statutory role of safeguarding lives and property in the state.

"Prior to the assumption of duty as the Plateau State Commissioner of Police, and in the wake of the on-going crisis, the military had already taken over the internal security of the state through a brief ceremony conducted for the purpose. The implication of this is that police are playing a supportive role as regards our primary functions."

He however appealed to citizens of the state to cooperate with security agencies to enable them succeed.

He said the police are determined to ensure peace in the state and called on the district police officers (DPOs) to make their offices their rest houses, saying henceforth, they would be held liable for any breach of peace in their area of coverage.

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