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Blood Bathe, Gunmen Killed 16 and 200 Houses Razed

The orgy of  violence in Plateau State continued on Wednesday with the killing of 16 people by gunmen in the Riyom Local Government Area.

At least 200 houses were burnt in the mayhem which occurred some hours before the African Union  Commission called on the Federal Government to stop the killings in parts of the country, especially the North-East.

The Plateau State mayhem also took  place as the military confirmed the death of a Lieutenant and some soldiers in a camp in Borno State last weekend.

It was gathered that apart from the burnt houses in Torok, Gwon, Gwarama, and Gwarim in the Riyom LGA, properties worth millions of naira  were destroyed  in Gida Biu, Langtang South LGA  by  gunmen suspected to be Fulani herdsmen.

Our correspondent learnt that in the four communities in the Riyom LGA, the gunmen, in  camouflage arrived in a commando style, killing anybody on their way.

The panic-stricken residents were said to have been  woken up by  gunshots which tore through the quiet Tuesday morning.

The Majority Leader of the Plateau State House  of Assembly, Daniel Dem, who is also the lawmaker representing the Riyom LGA, described the  incident as sad.

He said that 10 of the victims, mostly women and children, were burnt to death  by their attackers in Gwarim.

Dem wondered why men of the Special Task Force deployed in the area could not stop the attackers.

He said,  “In nearly all the  attacked villages, there is presence of men of the  STF; why did they not go after the attackers.”

The villages, our correspondent in the state  gathered, had been completely deserted as residents fled to neighbouring communities. Some were however said to have taken refuge in schools and churches.

“These senseless killings of innocent children, youths, women and other civilians, even while they are asleep in school dormitories, recovering in hospitals or in places of   worship and relaxation, must stop,” he said.

The AU commission recalled the continent’s history of peaceful coexistence among the people for centuries in spite of its religious and ethnic diversities.

It urged leaders of the continent to make practical efforts towards peace and security in Africa.

Meanwhile, the Director of Defence Information, Maj. Gen. Chris Olukolade, has confirmed that a Lieutenant and some soldiers were killed in  an operation  in the troubled Borno State.

He said, “That operation is the same one we issued a statement  earlier on . It is true that a Lieutenant and some soldiers died in the operation. We just did not want to release details of casualties in the statement that was issued.”

One of our correspondents gathered in Abuja that the  Special Forces of the Nigerian Army and the men of the Nigerian Air Force destroyed some of the major strongholds of the Boko Haram insurgents between Borno and Yobe Yobe states   during the operation last weekend.

A source said  the military high command was impressed with the outcome of the operation that it resolved that automatic promotion be granted all the  operatives   who took part in it.

Although the military did  not give the casualty figure on the part of the insurgents, it was  believed that several of them were killed.

It was also learnt on Wednesday  that the military  was conducting a discrete investigation into the killing of 29 students of  the Federal Government College, Buni Yadi in Yobe State by insurgents on February 25.

A source said that  the military had issued a directive that an Army Officer who was in charge of a military checkpoint  close to the school be taken to Abuja for interrogation.

He added that the  officer  was expected to make clarifications on the allegations that a military patrol team close to the school was withdrawn less than 24 hours before the attack.

But the Defence spokesman denied that the incident was being  probed.

He said, “There is no probe going on. It is not right to use such strong terms like interrogation. What is normal is that when an operation or exercise takes place, there must be a review. It is mainly to shape subsequent operations. It is simply military routine.”

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