16 February 2011

Nigeria: Bloody Maulud - Policeman, Five Others Killed in Jos

Jos — No fewer than six persons, including a mobile policeman were killed in Jos, the capital of Plateau State yesterday during the Eid'l Maulud celebration. Though there were several versions of how the killings started, according to eye witnesses who spoke to this reporter, trouble started when a policeman went to purchase meat from a trader in the Abuja Market section of the Jos Main Market.

The meat seller reportedly turned his knife on the policeman, who was simply identified as John, opening his bowels in the process. The policeman was said to have died from the injury. Another meat seller, who had witnessed the gory killing, our reporter learnt, went after the woman who had come to buy meat from him and killed her.

Traders around the market quickly shut their shops as people hurried home to avoid being caught in the confusion. Several vehicles smashed into each other leaving broken windscreens and damaged fenders in a desperate bid by motorists to escape from the confusion.

A commercial motorcycle operator was also mobbed and killed before he could escape. His corpse was thrown into the flames from his burning motorcycle.

Muslim youths, who had been restrained from embarking on any form of procession, after learning of what happened, began preparations to attack Christians who they learnt were planning to attack them in the Massalacin Jumma'a mosque where they were engaged in Quran recitation.

The arrival at the mosque of the commander of the Special Task Force, Brig. Gen. Hassan Umaru, who was in mufti, prevented a fresh round of killing after he assured them of their safety.

Meanwhile, the Plateau State commissioner of police, Alhaji Abdulrahman Akano who confirmed the development, said four people have been arrested.

He disclosed that the four people arrested were found in possession of substances suspected to be the intoxicant popularly called 'solution' and wraps of marijuana. He assured that they would be charged to court after their level of involvement had been properly investigated.

According to him, it was not true that hundreds of people were killed, adding that apart from the policeman, who he said was a member of the bomb disposal unit, no other person was killed as was being alleged.

Three corpses of people killed in a stampede were later removed from Gada Biyu area of the city. The corpses, we learnt, were burnt beyond recognition and dumped before the Goodluck Jonathan bridge. Gada Biyu had been previously rocked by last year's Christmas Eve bomb blast where over 200 people were killed.

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