By NBF News
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Stray bullets kill 2 in Jos
From Mariam Aleshinloye Agboola Jos
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Two persons were feared dead and two others wounded yesterday when the joint task force maintaining security in Jos, the Plateau State capital shot at a crowd, while trying to arrest some fleeing Fulani men said to have run into Police Staff College. One of the victims identified simply as Mr. Gyang died instantly and the other died at the Airforce Military Hospital, Jos while receiving treatment along with the other injured men. The two men killed were believed to be from the same family. A soldier was also said to be injured in the process of arresting the fleeing Fulani men.

There was a near showdown between the police guards at the Police Staff College and the military men who were said to have gone to the college in two armoured personnel carriers (APCs) with registration numbers NA 25-950322 and NA 25-95032333 and two Hilux trucks marked, FGN 373A0/3 and PL274101.

The soldiers led by a Captain reportedly asked to be allowed into the premises to arrest the Fulani men alleged to have sneaked into the premises through a collapsed fence, but the policemen sought to obtain permission from their superiors before allowing them in.

This infuriated the military men who reportedly forced their way in, and in the ensuing commotion, opened fire on a crowd that had gathered within the premises, leading to the deaths.

The soldiers eventually arrested and left with four Fulani men.

Attempts to get official reaction to the development from military authorities failed as those contacted said only the General Officer Commanding 3 Armoured Division, General Saleh Maina, could speak on the operation.

However, an officer who spoke on the condition of anonymity dismissed insinuations of extrajudicial killings against the military men, saying their acts would always be dictated by circumstances. 'You do not expect a soldier to see something wrong and not act,' he said.

In a related development, some women in Vwang district protested alleged extrajudicial killing of a young man in Bukuru. The women who wore black attires, lamented that those sent to defend them were now killing them.

Meanwhile, a civil group, the League for Human Rights, had warned that the people were gradually losing confidence in the ability of the military to protect them over allegations of bias on the part of security personnel.

Speaking to journalists yesterday, the Director, Peter Shamaki, said the people were also worried that the killings continued despite the security alert in the state.

'People are gradually losing confidence in the presence of security personnel because they no longer believe that they will bring peace and stability and this is to say the least, a dangerous development for a nation at the precipice. The mere presence of security cannot guarantee peace. It can only come from a heart that has peace and from a peace enforcer that is loyal and committed to his duty.

'We need peace in Plateau State and in order to have peace, there must be fairness and justice without which there can be no meaningful development. Dialogue is good but it won't work when people can kill and go unchecked and unpunished by law so the security personnel must step up their game to nip in the bud these attacks by staying loyal and committed to their line of duty,' the group said.