President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed sadness over the killing of persons, especially women and children in a night attack on Ancha village in Bassa Local Government Area of Plateau.
The President, in a statement issued by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, in Abuja on Saturday, equally expressed disappointment at the disruption of peace and normalcy that had reasonably taken root in the state.
President Buhari urged stakeholders not to allow this violent incident to destroy the progress made so far.
“It is unlawful of anyone or group to take the laws into their hands in the name of revenge or reprisals, rather than follow due process by allowing law enforcement agencies to fish out any such aggressors, who will be made to face justice.
“The various communities in the state have taken many steps, with the support of security agencies and mediators to pull the state back from the brink of anarchy and senseless killings warranted by attacks and counterattacks.’’
“It will be a painful loss to allow these unsavoury acts to return.
“I urge all our communities in the state and the other parts of the country to embrace peace and bring to a stop these painful and unnecessary killings,’’ he said.
The President further reiterated the determination of the Federal Government to protect the lives and property of all citizens, irrespective of their places of abode.
He, however, directed law enforcement agencies to apprehend the perpetrators of the Plateau killings and whoever their sponsors may be.
He prayed God to grant peace to the souls of the victims and comfort to the grieving families and community.
The Plateau State Police Command had on Friday in Jos confirmed that 19 persons were killed and five others injured in an attack on Ancha village in Bassa Local Government Area.
The state’s police commissioner, Peter Ogunyanwo, who gave the confirmation to newsmen, said that preliminary investigation had indicated that the attack was carried out by unidentified gunmen.
He said: “We are investigating the matter, but from our findings so far, the attack was carried out by herdsmen to avenge the killing of a young boy.
“We have been told that a boy resident in the village was reported missing on August 3. We are told that his body was later found without the head.’’
According to Ogunyanwo, the attackers invaded the village in the early hours of Friday and unleashed mayhem on innocent citizens, killing 19 persons and injuring five others.
“Of the 19 persons that died, 13 are adults comprising seven males and six females, while six are children. The five persons injured have been taken to the hospital and are responding to treatment,” he said.
He said that the attack was believed to be a reprisal because it came three days after the body of the missing Fulani boy was found.
The Commissioner said that five suspects were arrested over the missing Fulani boy, but that no arrest had been made in respect of the Friday morning attack.
He said that security personnel had been deployed to the area to forestall another reprisal attack, and cautioned the people against taking the law into their hands.
A resident of the area told NAN that the attack took place in the late hours of Thursday.
The source, who preferred anonymity, also told NAN that the attack left scores severely injured.