By NBF News
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How soldiers fuelled Jos crisis
From Mariam Aleshinloye Agboola, Jos
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Despite buck-passing between the Plateau State government and the military over the attack on some villages in Jos South local government in Plateau State, it is obvious the military has been enmeshed in controversy since it took over the maintenance of law and order in Jos and environs.

From the onset, when the federal government asked the military to take over the security of Jos from the police, it was widely believed that the action was taken to satisfy certain sections of the society, which had accused the police of taking sides in the civil unrest in the state.

The power of the state governor, Jonah Jang, a retired Air Commodore, was seen as being eroded by the coming of the military by his supporters but hailed by others who felt he was not doing enough to satisfy all sections of the society.

Whether by omission or by intention, the action and inaction of the military and even the joint task force, which later took over the entire security system, has justified the position of a section of the society that the military was not meant to be an impartial umpire in the imbroglio.

The perception thus made various groups to call on the federal government to remove the military boys from the streets of Jos, so that they do not overstay their welcome.

Few days after the soldiers took over, it was widely reported that a man was shot in front of his house during the curfew hours in Tudun Wada, a Christian-dominated area.

In the same area, many more atrocities involving the clash between military and civilians have been reported. The latest being the open fire to disperse some civilians, who had reportedly arrested some soldiers in a vehicle with cows.

To scare the youths, the soldiers were said to have fired into the air and in the melee a civilian was shot dead. Two others were wounded and are still undergoing treatment at the Plateau Specialist Hospital. One of the men has permanently lost his left thumb.

A day before that incident, some soldiers, in a bid to arrest some Fulanis that had invaded a village near the police staff college, were said to have clashed with policemen at the entrance of the college where the Fulanis were suspected to have ran into.

Again, the incensed soldiers opened fire on some civilians that had gathered around the premises while trying to disperse them. In the process, two youths of the same mother were shot dead. One of them died instantly while the other died at the Air Force Military Hospital while receiving treatment.

Along Rukuba road, a soldier was said to have forcefully entered a house to arrest a man and his daughter and took them to the Wild Life Park before handing them over to the police, without any charge against them.

In another incident, a soldier alleged to be Hausa was said to have met a woman and her son purchasing food item. For no reason, the soldier reportedly opened fire on the boy. The act was said to have jolted his colleague, who responded by shooting him on the leg.

Because of lack of confidence in the soldiers, there have been several cases of civilians taking the laws into their hands. In one incident where a soldier was killed, the deceased was said to be shabbily dressed and was suspected to be one of the fake soldiers posted to cause havoc. He was immediately surrounded, overpowered and beaten to death by civilians.

The latest Dogo naa Hauwa incident may have confirmed the suspicion a section of the state had concerning the chairman of the joint task force and General Officer Commanding 3 Armoured Division, Gen. Saleh Maina. His coming to head the division in Jos and subsequent taking over of the security of Jos was seen as a systematic plan to assist the Hausa/Fulani have upper hand in Jos over the indigenous Christians. He was believed to have been posted to Jos to execute the plan of the Hausa/Fulani oligarchy.