Tension, tight security as Jonathan campaigns in Jos

Published On: February 16, 2011, 12:17 pm
Author:
Aliuniyi lawal
-- (m) at 16-02-2011 12:17PM

(1374 | Gistmaniac)


SEVEN people, including a mobile policeman attached to Anti Bomb Squad, were again killed in Jos, Plateau State, on Tuesday, barely 24 hours to the visit of President Goodluck Jonathan.


The President and his deputy, Vice-President Namadi Sambo, are scheduled to hold a campaign rally in the Tin City on Wednesday (today).


Meanwhile, the Police on Tuesday barred bag-carrying supporters from attending the President’s campaign rally.


“We want to crave the understanding of the public; there will be no entry with bags into the venue of the campaign,” the police said in a statement signed by the spokesman for the state command, Apev Jacob.


Jacob, an Assistant Superintendent of Police, also advised dignitaries and party loyalists to arrive the venue of the campaign rally early in order to avoid stampede.


At least 20 people died in the stampede that ensued at the President’s rally in Port Harcourt on Saturday. Thirty-six other victims sustained injuries. Some of the injured victims are still receiving treatment at the Braithwaite Specialist Hospital, Port Harcourt.


In Jos on Tuesday, the mobile policeman, identified as Corporal John Isuwa, was stabbed to death at the Abuja Market in the Terminus Area by hoodlums who were said to have traced him to the market where he had gone to shop for his wife who just delivered a baby. A little girl who was standing by was also stabbed by the hoodlums.


An eyewitness told our correspondent that the girl however ran to safety with blood all over her body thus provoking anger among traders in the market.


“The sight of the girl with blood all over her body angered the people around and within minutes the whole market was in turmoil. Traders quickly closed their shops and vehicles started fleeing the area,” the witness narrated.


Some of those who saw the corpse of Isuwa at the Bingham University Teaching Hospital (Jankwano) were said to have launched reprisals in Gada Biu and other sections of the city.


In the reprisal attacks, three other persons were killed in Gada Biu while four others were murdered at the Terminus area.


Businesses around Rwang Pam Street, Ahmadu Bello Way, Moshalasi Juma’a and Bukuru Park were completely paralysed as traders hurriedly closed shops.


Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr. Abdulrahman Akano, who confirmed the incident, said that his men and soldiers attached to the Special Task Force had been mobilised to keep the peace in the areas.


Akano said that four people were arrested in connection with the incident.


At least 300 people had been killed in sectarian violence in Jos since 2008. In January 2010, no fewer than 200 people lost their lives in a violence spurred by inciting text messages.


Residents were then forced to flee to neighbouring states in the North Central region.


A NAN correspondent who went round the metropolis, reports that virtually all shops and business centres were shuttered, thereby, paralysing business activities in the metropolis.


Also, there was a heavy presence of stern looking and heavily armed security operatives in the state capital.


Capt. Charles Ekeocha, the Spokesman for the Special Task Force (STF), who confirmed the incident, described the breach of security situation as “disturbing.”


“I am not sure of the cause of the stampede, but I was told that somebody raised a false alarm, sending fear into people, who got confused and misinterpreted it to be another fresh crisis.


“There is nothing much besides the alleged death of a mobile police officer.


“My officers and I are in the area right now; everything is okay in the area and everywhere is calm,`` Ekeocha said.


The spokesman, however, called on the public to ignore the rumour and go about their normal duties and gave assurance that the STF and the police were on top of the situation.


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