No fewer than seven people, including a student, have been reported killed in some communities in Jos, Plateau State, in a renewed onslaught on residents by hoodlums in the town.
The hoodlums, who also attacked the students’ Village Hostel, University of Jos, were reportedly repelled by the students who fought back.
Security operatives were reported to have intervened in the crisis, during which a 300-level Law student, Kums Shadrach, was shot dead.
Two other undergraduates of the institution, who reportedly sustained injuries, were said to be receiving treatment at an undisclosed hospital.
The Public Relations Officer of the Students Union Government, Kelvin Kwalmi, said soldiers killed Shadrach.
He said, “The whole thing started last Friday when some hoodlums tried to invade Village Hostel. The students mobilised and repelled them.
“Yesterday (Sunday), they tried to come in again and the students tried to protect themselves. The soldiers later came and opened fire. Stray bullets hit our students. The soldiers came in a Hilux truck and threw tear gas canisters at us before opening fire. We had to run back. A student, who was hit in the head, died on the spot. ”
He noted that there had been attacks on some residents on Rukuba Road, with many people killed.
Kwalmi said the killings later escalated to Gadaji, Dutse Ukwu, Inner Junction, Angwan Rukuba areas, adding that it was the fight that spilled into the students’ hostel.
The UNIJOS Alumni Public Relations Officer, Mr Adoration Dashit, noted that the university was surrounded by a Muslim community.
He said, “The town has been polarised; there are areas dominated by Christians and there are areas dominated by Muslims. Even the university community is surrounded by a Muslim community. The Village Hostel, which is one of our hostels, is close to Fariganda Market, which is surrounded by three hotspots. So, you can understand how it got to the hostel.
“The students claimed that the miscreants shot at them and attempted to break into the hostel and it was in the process that one person was killed. Those who fired the shots were said to be in military uniform, but it is possible for the hoodlums to also wear military uniforms.”
The UNIJOS Principal Assistant Registrar, Information and Publications, Abdullahi Abdullahi, in a statement on Monday, said situation on the campus was still tense, urging members of the university community to exercise caution.
He noted that while one person had been confirmed dead and two injured, one student was still missing.
He said, “The school management wishes to clarify that after a rigorous search was carried out, one student is still missing, while one student was confirmed dead and two others were reported injured.
“The corpse of the deceased student has since been deposited in a mortuary. The injured student is receiving treatment in a hospital, while the other one has been discharged. Out of respect for the families of the affected students, the university authorities have decided not to disclose the identities of the dead and the injured, but would do so in due course.
“It should, however, be noted that following the breakdown of peace in the metropolis, management has been working round the clock in close collaboration with the security agencies and the Plateau State Government to ensure that the lives and property of members of the university community, especially students, are adequately protected.”
The state Commissioner of Police, Undie Udie, who confirmed the attack, said no fewer than seven people were killed.
He said, “No fewer than seven were killed. There is still tension in the area, so it is when the situation is calm that we will be able to go round to check (the number of casualties).
“I don’t think it is correct to say a soldier killed the student. Some hoodlums wanted to gain access into the students’ hostel. They usually do that to either rape the girls or rob them. So, both military task force and the police moved in and dislodged them.
“It was not only the students that were attacked. You have residents of Dutse Ukwu, Rikkos, Tina junction; it is a stretch of road. The communities along the road were affected. We positioned our men and armoured personnel carriers in the troubled spots.”
The Plateau Law Students Association, University of Jos, in a statement by its Secretary General, Sunday Timothy, lamented that the government was not doing enough to address the security situation in the state.
“We have been shouting that we want peace for 17 years now; maybe we should try something else, because clearly, peace is not working.
“We have not finished suffering from the afflictions of this government or the economic downturns and our naira purchasing power, parity fluctuations. And we’re being ravaged by murderers and blood suckers even in the hostel?”
Meanwhile, the last Facebook post of the deceased student has generated reactions as many thought he had a premonition of his death.
In the post, the 23-year-old Plateau State indigene called for “balance of terror.”
He said, “If we are still praying for peace to help us, then I am sorry to disappoint you, peace won’t help us anymore. Do you know what we need? Balance of terror will. Call me an extremist and a radical, well, that is how things get done. For the peace, development and greatness of a place to be cemented, it has to be ravaged by destruction. If I die in the struggle, then so be it. Plateau has seen so much of nonsense.”