Jos killing: “How unknown Christians saved our lives” – Muslim survivors

Plateau State has been in the news for the wrong reason for the umpteenth time.

The screaming headlines in the last few weeks have been very disturbing.

From the killings, burning of farmlands and food barns, mowing of grown crops, displacing of natives and harvesting of their crops in communities in Barkin Ladi, Riyom, Jos South and Bassa local government areas to the killing of commuters along Rukuba road in Jos North local government area, the stories have been depressing.

The build up of the events which erupted last Saturday with the attack on commuters was obvious but authorities concerned turned a blind eye until more lives were lost.

It would be recalled that before the Saturday incident, there had been a series of attacks in the Irigwe Chiefdom of Bassa local government area as well as in Riyom local government area.

About 70 people lost their lives though official figures showed less, over 200 houses were burnt and about 3,000 people displaced.

The people screamed their voices hoarse but no one seemed to care. This has always been the case; numerous press statements by governments, groups and individuals have not translated to any arrest nor prosecution of perpetrators. 

On the said day, when some Irigwe mourners were heading to Miango district for a mass burial of some of the victims killed in the earlier attack, some commuters in a convoy of five buses were also seen along Rukuba road which also leads to Miango and this raised suspicion as to the intention of the commuters who are of the Fulani ethnic group. 

Recall also that the natives have persistently accused the Fulani of being behind the persistent killings and destruct ions in the area.

It was gathered that some passers-by who observed the movement of the convoy stopped them and demanded their whereabouts to which “conflicting and unsatisfactory answers” were given.

This prompted the people to start hitting the vehicles and attacking the commuters.

Out of fear, the commuters ran out of the vehicles and were chased. While some were lucky to escape with injuries, about 22 were killed and their vehicles destroyed.

The situation snowballed to Sunday when some worshippers were attacked and killed while on their way to church thereby prompting the State government to declare a 24-hr curfew in Jos North and dusk to dawn curfew in Jos South and Bassa where tensions were high.

Although there has been widespread condemnation for the attack and stakeholders have called for calm, the situation has not abated as there are still reported cases of killings in communities.

However, something worthy of mention is the fact that some of the commuters survived because some residents hid them in their homes and later ferried them to safe locations where the security agencies picked them up.

This shows that there is hope for the State because an average citizen wants peace to reign. If only concerned authorities would be alive to their responsibility, arrest criminals and punish them for their acts, citizens would not have to resort to self-help.

One of the survivors of the Rukuba road incident, Muhammad Ibrahim who was rescued by a tricycle operator and taken to the Jos Central Mosque said a Christian tricycle operator had helped disguise him with a face cap and drove him out of the danger zone.

His words, “When we arrived at the Gada-Biyu area, there was traffic and we thought it was the normal traffic but before we knew it, people from all angles started stoning us and there was no way we could drive further because they had surrounded our buses and the people were many.

“The area was congestion, I don’t know how I got out of the bus but I was on the ground and they were hitting me with stones. Then I saw a tricycle operator whom I believe is a Christian, he asked me to quickly jump in, and he drove off.

“When we got to the Mosque I said let me get some money and pay him, but he replied ‘I did not help because of money. Now you are safe, let me try and see if I can save more….’ He drove off.” Though Ibrahim does not know his benefactor’s name, he prayed “Allah will bless him and his generation.”

Sadiq Musa, a peace advocate who also interacted with Ibrahim commended the efforts of the ‘unknown’ tricycle operator and appealed to citizens to embrace peace and peaceful co-existence.

Apart from Ibrahim, Suleiman Hassan, a resident of Zinariya community in Jos North local government area confirmed “More than 10 survivors were saved by Christian residents because, most of them ran into the houses of Christian residents in that neighborhood and were shielded and accompanied out to safety.”

Hassan further disclosed, a Church was prevented from being razed in a Muslim dominated suburb.

According to him, “Some wayward youths tried burning down the Church. People of our area who are Muslims stopped them, and organized locals to guard the Church.”

Hassan admitted citizens are “hungry for peace” but “criminals want to always cause mayhem and loot” that is why criminally-minded people irrespective of religion, tribe and other affiliations who want to breach peace must be apprehended and punished so that the society would be spared the trauma of violence.

Headline News365 Administrator
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