On August 15, a group of Muslim youths murdered 25-year-old Stephen Fwangmun while going with some of his family members to a convocation ceremony at the Federal Polytechnic, Bauchi.
Jennifer, Fwangmun’s sister and co-traveller, said some Hausa-Muslim youths threw heavy stones at their bus in Farin Gada, Plateau State, until the driver lost control.
“They had already poured engine oil on our bus and were going to burn us all alive before my brother jumped out,” she said. “They ran after him and the rest of us escaped. They caught up with Stephen and butchered him.”
“When we got vigilantes and soldiers around, the youths moved to the other side of the road and mocked us. The soldiers didn’t even bother to shoot or do anything. They only took my brother to the hospital.”
On August 14, 22 travellers were killed on Rukuba Road, Jos North, while returning from Bauchi State. The attack aroused the age-long crisis between Christians and Muslims in Plateau State.
“This has become a religious crisis,” Endurance, another sister of the deceased, told FIJ. “The surprising thing was that all the security operatives at a nearby checkpoint were nowhere to be found during the attack.”
Although Stephen was the only person who died in the attack, other passengers sustained different degrees of injuries to their faces and bodies.
WHY STEPHEN’S DEATH IS REALLY PAINFUL
Stephen’s death came at the time the family was mourning the loss of his brother, who died of an illness a month and three weeks earlier.
Betty Johnson, Stephen’s oldest sister, said he was the only male survivor who was looking after their old parents.
“Since he was the only male remaining, we were looking up to him to take care of our parents,” she said. “I am married and would have less time to do that but I just had to come and stay with them now that there is no more male in the house.”
She also said no government official had paid a condolence visit to the family after the incident.
“Anyway, our brother is gone already, but we want the government to stop these killings in Plateau. We are no longer safe,” she said.
Operation Safe Haven, a special military task force in Plateau State, confirmed the incident to FIJ but said the Army didn’t use their firearms because they were not ordered to do so.
“We are here to save lives,” a task force officer at the complaint desk, who refused to reveal his name, said. “If the commander in charge had told them to fire, the officers would have done that, but the situation did not warrant that.”
Attackers have killed and displaced many people in Jos North in the last few weeks. Shortly after the August 14 attack, Frank Mba, the spokesperson to the Nigeria Police Force, said 20 suspects had been arrested.
On Wednesday, FIJ reported the killing of over 35 residents of Yelwan Zangam, a Christian community in Jos North LGA.
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