Killings: Protesters torch traditional ruler's palace in Plateau amid outrage over arrests

Protesters on Friday, January 6, 
2023, burned down the palace of the District Head of Bokkos, Saf Adanchin, during demonstrations over what they tagged as the indiscriminate arrests in the area following recent killings in the Plateau community. 

They were expressing their displeasure over the arrest of some community members in connection to the assaults in the area.

The protesters, mostly youths and women, took their agitation to the Joint Security Task Force Operation Safe Haven base and the Divisional Police Office in the Bokkos Local Government Area community to express their displeasure over the development.

But the demonstrations turned violent when they proceeded to the district head’s palace, overpowered the security personnel, and set the building, including vehicles parked within the premises ablaze.

As of the time of publishing this, police authorities in the state have yet to comment on the matter but had earlier confirmed the arrest of eight persons in connection with the Christmas Eve attacks in the area.

Meanwhile, the Bokkos Progressive Youths have accused security operatives of bias since the Christmas Eve attacks in Bokkos.

“It is with pain in our hearts that we write to address you concerning the continuous violation of human rights by the military sent to foil the attacks that started on 23rd December 2023 in Bokkos Local Government Area of Plateau State Nigeria,” its president Luka Tulladem said in a statement.

“Since the sad event happened, we have witnessed continuous arrest, detention, and brutalization of victims, who managed to escape the horror of the attackers. In most cases, these victims have suffered incapacitation and bullet wounds from the same army who are supposed to protect them.”

The protest is the latest since the simultaneous attacks on communities in the Bokkos and Barkin-Ladi local government areas of the North-Central State that claimed over 200 lives with hundreds of houses and farmlands burnt.

The Christmas Eve attack attracted condemnation locally and globally. President Bola Tinubu had ordered a probe into the incidents. Plateau State Governor Caleb Mutfwang also called for “united efforts to identify and apprehend those responsible for these heinous acts”.

Vice President Kashim Shettima visited the area to commiserate with the people of the North-Central State.

But during the visit, Shettima appealed to the residents to “resist the temptation to succumb to sectional divisions or the poisonous rhetoric of hatred towards your fellow citizens, as we pursue justice to ensure your security.”

Pope Francis also called for prayers for the victims of the violence.

“Let us pray together for the victims of the severe violence in Nigeria’s Plateau State. May God free Nigeria from these horrors!” the Catholic pontiff said.
‘Sons of Satan’

In his reaction to the recent attack on Bokkos and Barkin-Ladi, the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto Matthew Hassan-Kukah said the repeated and unending killings on the Plateau is beyond herder-farmer clashes, adding that the murderers “want their own kind of Nigeria according to their ideology.”

The cleric charged the government to resist the agenda of the marauders and protect Nigerians.

Kukah labelled the marauders as “sons of Satan” who “opted to extinguish and snatch the light of the joy of Christmas from thousands of people on the Plateau”.

“There is a method to this madness. “The choice of location, communities, timings, the seeming hooded identities of the killers mask a fact: we may not know who they are, but someone wants something from the Middle Belt. Stretch your imagination from the emergence of the modern Nigerian state and connect the dots,” Kukah said in a statement.
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