31 December 2012

Nigeria: Youths of Kuru Clash With Troops Over Killing of Peer

Youths and personnel of the Special Task Force (STF) clashed on Monday in Kuru, near Jos, following the killing of one youth on Sunday night by unknown gunmen.

STF media officer, Capt. Salisu Mustapha, said the deceased youth was killed by a stray bullet, while another stray bullet injured another youth. Mustapha could not confirm the source of the stray bullet, however.

Angered by the incident, youths in the area on Monday morning took to the streets to protest what they called the "constant and consistent killings" of their kinsmen.

A correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) who visited the scene of the protest, reports that the youths set bonfires on the main Kuru-Vom-Manchok road thereby making it impassable.

NAN correspondent saw rubbles of burnt cars at the scene of the protest but could not confirm their ownership.

At the heat of the protest, the STF sent reinforcement to the scene to restore normalcy, a situation that led to a direct clash with the youths.

Some of the youths, who spoke to NAN accused the soldiers of complicity in the systematic killing of their people, and suggested that the armed men be withdrawn from the area.

They alleged that the youths were hit by military bullets. Mustapha, however, rejected the accusation that the stray bullets were fired by men of the STF.

"The attack was carried out by some unknown men who just fired indiscriminately and ran away. In fact, there are no STF men stationed at the point where the attack happened.

"The bullets from these attackers were not aimed at anyone in particular and that is why I say they were stray bullets.

"Right now, we are trying to find out who carried out the attack, but the youths are distracting us; I don't know why the youths should blame the soldiers over such crime and follow that up by taking the laws into their hands."

Mustapha promised that the STF men would fish out the attackers when they were through with restoring law and order within the troubled area.

"For now the road is closed but very soon the road shall be opened for vehicular movement," he said.

The STF spokesman confirmed that some of the protesting youths had been arrested, but did not specify how many.

"We have made some arrests, but I don't know how many. I can only confirm that later."

NAN reports that Plateau had been a hotbed of violence in the recent past.

In the past two years, most of the attacks have been carried out by unknown gunmen usually at night when the victims were in bed.

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