Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Grenade Attack in Jos..

Hundreds of pupils escape death as RPG misses target
...Fresh bloodbath averted as STF stops youths’ protest over boy’s killing
Another possible bloodbath was averted on the Plateau yesterday as a Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG) fired at an Islamic school missed the target, killing a seven-year-old boy in a nearby house. The attack took place at Kerana community in Bukuru metropolis.

 Angry youths from the place and Dadin Kowa also in Jos were prevented from going on rampage by the Special Task Force soldiers. Two weekends ago, scores were killed when gunmen suspected to be Fulani hersdsmen attacked residents of four Plateau councils.

A serving Senator, Dr. Gyang Dantong and the Majority Leader of the state’s Assembly, Gyang Fulani, died of exhaustion while trying to escape during an attempt to give mass burial to the victims. A member of the House of Representatives, Simon Mwadkon, escaped death by the whiskers.

The state government promptly declared curfew in the four local governments. There is fragile peace in the state since then. Yesterday’s failed mattack on the Islamic school led to tension in neighbouring Nasarawa as the news filtered into the state.

An eyewitness said someone riding in an ash coloured Jetta car which was being escorted by a Vetra car, had shot the RPG into Nuhu Islamic School at Kerana community in Bukuru. The RPG overshot its target and penetrated the wall of a house behind the school where the seven-year-old boy was killed instantly.

He said the attacker seemed not to be a professional because apart from overshooting the target, the device shattered the car’s windscreen. STF’s spokeman, Captain Salisu Mustapha, who confirmed the incident, explaned that the RPG was able to destroy the windscreen because the impact could affect anything behind it within a certain range.

As news of the attack spreads into Bukuru town and Dadin Kowa settlements, some youths took to the street in protest; a move which would have snowballed into another crisis.   The sound of the gunshots also caused pandemonium in some areas like Rayfield where people started closing shops and hurrying back home.

The appearance of the aggrieved youths in Bukuru and Dadin Kowa also made traders to lock up their shops. Banks were immediately closed even in both Jos and Bukuru metropolis while parents also rushed to schools to withdraw their children and wards.

At press time, the situation was normal, but most shop-owners refused to open for the rest of the day because of the fear that the aggrieved youths may regroup.  Men of the task force were still on the streets of both Bukuru and Jos to prevent any breakdown of law and order. In neighbouring Nasarawa, there was panic among residents of Lafia, the state capital over the Jos attack.

People gathered in groups discussing the latest development in Plateau State which had been calm lately after the initial violence. Some drivers who left early in the day to catch up with their businesses in Jos were disappointed and returned immediately to avoid being attacked by hoodlums.

Narrating his experience to Daily Sun in Lafia, one of the passengers, Abubakar Abdullahi, said they were forced to return to Lafia from Riyom by some irate youths who vowed to kill anybody that does not belong to their religion.

Abubakar said that he and his co-travellers escaped death by the whiskers as the angry youths at Riyom Railway crossing were pursuing them with dangerous weapons such as knives, cutlasses, machetes and dane guns.  “We asked our driver to turn back immediately in order to escape”, he said.