•50 cars, 100 motor bikes burnt
Jos, the troubled capital of Plateau State, yesterday witnessed renewed disturbances that claimed an unconfirmed number of lives and properties worth several millions of naira destroyed in the fresh crisis.The National Emergency Management Agency said the fighting began Monday in Jos, which has been troubled by ethnic and religious tensions, after Muslims began praying in a predominantly Christian neighborhood in the city. Officials with a local Muslim group said the unidentified attackers used knives, machetes and bows and arrows.
Witnesses say more than 50 vehicles and 100 motorcycles were set ablaze during the fighting. Army and police moved into the affected neighborhood late Monday.
Jos sits in the Nigeria ‘s “middle belt,” where dozens of ethnic groups vie for control of fertile lands and political and economic power.
According to an eye witness, vehicles conveying Muslim faithful who went to pray at the prayer ground in Rukuba Road , were set ablaze. Consequently, there were reprisal attacks and killings in other parts of the town.
Responding on behalf of the Plateau State Government, the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Ayuba Pam Dangwong said the development was really a sad one, considering that the state government was working hard to restore normalcy and confidence in the minds of all Plateau people and residents. Dangwong observed that there were some disgruntled elements who did not wish the state well and were causing tension in and around the metropolis.
Governor Jang is poised to handle the situation effectively because without peace there will no development, no progress and above all, there would be no unity among the diverse people of Plateau State , Dangwong observed.
He noted that that government had further strengthened security measures to safeguard the lives and properties of law abiding citizens in the state and therefore people to live in peace with one another ,irrespective of differences in religion or ethnicity.
The communal harmony and peace which the mining town used to have has broken down following several inter-ethnic clashes over the years. Security agencies have identified disagreement over indigeneship, ownership of Jos, politics, ignorance and unemployment as the major causes of the mayhem.
Hundreds of lives and property worth millions of naira were lost in theses incidents over the past few years as government continues to try to find solution to them.
One of the major riots in the city happened on November 28, 2008 and occurred over a local election. Both state and federal government set up parallel committees to investigate this.