The Special Task Force, Operation Safe Haven has ordered troops to stop members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) from protesting in any part of Plateau State.
The order was contained in a statement signed by the Military Information Officer, Major Ishaku Takwa.
“Operation Safe Haven, the joint security task force maintaining law and order in Plateau State and parts of Bauchi and Southern Kaduna has ordered troops to ensure that the planned protest by members of the proscribed Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) or any other group does not take place in any part of Plateau State until full security is guaranteed,” the statement partly reads.
IMN had planned a nationwide protest over the health challenges of its leader Ibrahim El-Zakazky, and members of the outlawed group in Plateau scheduled their march for Friday.
However, the joint security task force said intelligence reports indicate that the planned protest will breach security in the state.
According to Major Takwa’s communique, the protest could be hijacked by hoodlums and miscreants thereby causing mayhem within the Jos metropolis.
The Force called on members of the IMN to shelve their planned protest as the operation is committed to the total restoration of peace in Plateau.
The military also said it is working with the state government, critical stakeholders such as traditional and religious leaders, and the citizens to achieve the mandate.
Plateau has been relatively peaceful until recently when brazen attacks forced a sphere of apprehension in the state, prompting Governor Simon Lalong to impose a curfew on three local government areas.
The recent killings in Plateau stirred great concerns not just across the country, but within the international community, even as Amnesty International revealed in a report that it has been monitoring the violence in the state.
According to Amnesty’s report, at least 112 people have been killed and about 160 kidnapped following bloody assaults in Kaduna and Plateau States within the last one month.
The rights organisation in its communique inferred that the authorities’ failure enabled a month of bloodbath within the two states.
While 78 people were killed and 160 abducted by bandits between July 3 and August 5 in Kaduna State, including 121 schoolchildren of Bethel Baptist Church High School, 34 persons lost their lives in Plateau State.
This included seven herders who were attacked on July 1 at Dogon Gaba and two others who were lynched at Fusa Village while trying to locate their missing cow.
Villagers from farming communities informed Amnesty International that innocent people and communities that know nothing about the attacks are sometimes targeted for reprisal.
Re-emphasising that the slow and ineffective response by security officials has contributed to the attacks and reprisals in Plateau, the agency urged the Nigerian government to ensure that proactive measures were taken to forestall future attacks.
It also called on the government to investigate, arrest and prosecute perpetrators.
In a bid to restore calm and rekindle confidence, the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) swung into action after the latest incident in which 25 persons were confirmed killed and 23 injured along Rukuba Road in Jos North Local Government Area of Plateau State.
The police on Monday arrested thirteen suspects, while the Head of the Police Intervention Team (PIT), DIG Sanusi Lemu, continued coordinating police investigative, operational, and peace-building responses.
Force spokesman, CP Frank Mba who disclosed this in a statement, said the Inspector General of Police, Alkali Baba Usman, has ordered the deployment of additional operational assets in the state as part of ongoing coordinated efforts at restoring public order in Rukuba and its environs.
A police surveillance helicopter, two units of Police Mobile Force (PMF), and two cells of Counter Terrorism Unit (CTU) were also among the assets deployed to Plateau State by the police chief.
The surveillance helicopter, manned by operatives of Nigeria Police Airwing, is expected to carry out aerial surveillance and confidence-boosting patrols within the hotspots, in coordinated operations with the ground troops.
IGP Usman assured the people of Plateau that the police remained committed to working with other patriotic stakeholders towards restoring public order in the state and other parts of the country.