Jos — Plateau State is once again in the news following an attack on a village near Jos by suspected Fulani herdsmen in the early hours of Sunday.
The attackers targeted the homes of some officials in Kura Jenta, a Berom village some 30 kilometers south of Jos.
The officials were said to be former government workers and a brother to a local government chairman of Jos South Local Government Area (LGA).
No life was lost because of the timely intervention of a police patrol. But three houses and six vehicles were torched.
The military authorities said no arrest had been made. It was also gathered that efforts are being made to track down those behind the incident.
One group of attackers was said to have fired indiscriminately from one section while the other group set fire on the two affected compounds. They were, however, overpowered by the Special Task Force (STF) troops.
The fire in the three houses was later put off through the combined efforts of the STF troops and the fire service. The houses affected include that of a former commissioner, Mr. Markus Pwajok.
Kuru Jenta was the scene of a deadly massacre where about 150 Fulani were allegedly killed and dumped in wells on January 19, 2010.
A police source said that an anonymous caller had contacted the Assistant Inspector General of Police in charge of Zone 4, Mr. Donald Iroham, on phone at about 1.30 am on Sunday to inform him that a house had been set on fire.
Iroham, who visited the scene of the attack yesterday, promised that "the police would do everything within their powers to track down perpetrators of these heinous crimes".
He said people should step up security "towers" to watch their "enemies" and that he was not "going to give up" the fight against criminality in the society, describing the situation "as sad and must be stopped".
"In spite of sporadic gun shots and breaking of a fence which lasted for about one hour, nothing was done by the military personnel to salvage the situation. It was the timely arrival of the police patrol team to the place that halted what would have been a disaster to the family," a resident said.
Iroham, who confirmed the development, said that it was a woman that alerted him. When asked about the allegation that the soldiers at the scene did nothing, the AIG said, "the allegation is more than meets the eye, but we are investigating."
He urged the residents of the state not to panic as the police are on top of the situation. But the Operations Commander of the JTF, Col Kayode Ogundele, disputed the police claims. He said it was as a result of the resistance put up by the soldiers that the attack was repelled.
The attack on Kuru Jenta is coming barely a week after a peace-building measure initiated by the Gbong Gwom Jos, Da Jacob Gyang Buba, was held to broker a truce between the Berom and Fulani.
Jos has been the center of ethnic and religious crisis for some years now. During the tenure of former Governor Joshua Dariye, a state of emergency was declared by then President Olusegun Obasanjo.
There were clashes last year between Muslims and Christians leading to the death of hundreds of people. More recently in January, another crisis flared up resulting in the destruction of properties and lives.
Another set of killings occurred in March in the village of Dogo Nahawa early in the morning. Without any warning, harmless women and children were hacked to death by suspected Fulani herdsmen.
The State Governor Jonah Jang and the General Officer Commanding Third Armoured Division Jos, Major Gen. Saleh Maina, traded words over whether the latter was forewarned of the attacks or not. While Jang claimed he called and received no answer, Maina said he did not receive any call from Plateau State government officials.
Instead, he claimed he received several text messages from individuals but did not act.
That particular incident caused so much outrage that some women organised a protest march in front of the National Assembly in Abuja. Another march was held at the Plateau State House of Assembly by families of the deceased.