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By Ifedayo Adebayo
March 23, 2010 01:46AM
Some of the people arrested over the Jos inter-ethnic killings. Photo: NEXT

The Nigeria Police says the 164 people arrested during last month's sectarian crisis in Jos, may be charged to court later this week. According to the police, 41 of the suspects will be charged with murder.

Police spokesperson, Emmanuel Ojukwu, confirmed that all the 164 suspects arrested during the crisis are still in police custody. According to Mr. Ojukwu, '164 were arrested and interrogated, 41 will be charged for murder and terrorism.' He also said 151 suspects will be charged with multiple offences that include unlawful possession of firearms, arson, and rioting.

According to him, in accordance with the law, the prosecution of the suspects will be handled expeditiously by the office of the Attorney General of the Federation.

Last month's killings occurred less than two months after hundreds of Muslims were killed in the village of Kuru Karama. The latest killings that occurred in Dogon Nahowa village, also leading to the death of hundreds of people, are believed to be reprisal attacks for the January killings.

In the last ten years, sectarian killings have occurred with frightening regularity in Plateau State, leading to a vicious cycle of killings and counter killings.

Many have blamed politicians for the violence that stalks a state that was once the epitome of peaceful inter-faith and inter-tribal living.

Mr. Ojukwu said the Nigeria Police is doing everything to ensure that the violence does not reoccur. He further said: 'The Police High Command has sent a Police Assistant Inspector General to Jos to maintain order, make sure that there are no recurrence of such, and take charge; and we are ready to mobilise in case there is any eventuality.'

However, there is a lack of confidence in the ability of the police to provide a permanent solution to the problem. On March 17, ten days after the Dogon Nahowa killings, another 12 people were killed in Byei village in Riyom local government area of Plateau State. Fulani herdsmen are alleged to be responsible.