Image used for illustrative purpose only

The security situation in Plateau State, particularly in Mangu and Bokkos local government areas, has sparked a disagreement between Operation Safe Haven (OPHS), a security task force, and the Coalition of Bokkos Ethnic Nationalities.

This dispute stems from allegations by the coalition that soldiers shot civilians in Kopnanle and Mandang Mushu, Mangu and Bokkos LGAs respectively, leading to fatalities and injuries during a recent attack by gunmen in the area.

The Coalition of Bokkos Ethnic Nationalities called for the removal of the sector commander in the area, accusing the OPHS personnel of failing to protect lives and property.

It claimed that the soldiers’ actions resulted in civilian casualties during the attack.

In response, Major Samson Zhakom, the OPHS’s media officer, refuted these allegations, stating that the forces swiftly responded to the attacks, quelling them and minimising casualties.

He clarified that while one person was killed and two others injured in Kopnanle, three individuals were injured in Mandang Mushu, two of whom later succumbed to their injuries.

 Major Zhakom dismissed the call for the removal of Colonel C. Y. Ofurumazi, the commander of the Step-Up Headquarters in Bokkos, describing it as malicious.

He emphasised that the allegations of the vigilante’s killing were an attempt to deflect responsibility and portray the deceased vigilante in a more favourable light.

“The use of sophisticated weapons by the acclaimed vigilante was further buttressed by the discovery of eleven (11) rounds of 7.62 mm (Special) ammunition in the possession of the dead militia contrary to claims that he was a vigilante who was using a Dane gun to protect his community. Moreover, the acclaimed vigilante was already dead before the troops arrived at the area,” the spokesperson added.