Tears flowed freely on Wednesday when three vigilance members allegedly shot death by operatives of Operation Safe Haven (OPSH), a Military Task Force in charge of internal security in Plateau State and its environs were given a community burial at Kwi village in Riyom Local Government Area of Plateau State.
The victims were Elisha Yakubu Bot, Joshua Dung and Bot Bulus Rwang, members of a vigilance group in Kwi community.
Our correspondent gathered that the men lost their lives when two persons from a neighbouring community were attacked on Saturday 20 April, 2019 by suspected herdsmen in Kwi village where one person lost his life while another escaped.
The surviving person raised the alarm for help which attracted the vigilante to the scene. But when the military who were stationed in the community arrived shortly after the vigilante, they started shooting sporadically and targeting them.
Madaki Shedrack, who survived the gunshots said 17 of them were arrested by the OPSH Operatives of Sector 9 and three persons among them were inflicted with gunshots injuries.
Shedrack said: “14 of us were taken to Sector 9 at Makera in Riyom and the three injured persons were taken to the hospital for treatment. We were taken to the headquarters of Operation Safe Haven the following morning and we couldn’t see three of our colleagues.
“The military kept us in their custody for about one month until were transferred to the Police Headquarters Jos, where our statements were taken and we were subsequently released without seeing three of our members.”
It was learnt that the community wrote the OPSH headquarters two times to provide the three vigilante members alive or dead but there was no response from them.
A community leader and former Plateau State Commissioner for Finance, Hon. Davou Mang, said the community together with the families embarked on the search of the corpses from one mortuary and the other until the corpses were found at Bingham University Teaching Hospital in August.
He said the hospital management told the community that the corpses were deposited on the 21 April, 2019 by members of the Operation Safe Haven (OPSH).
It was gathered that the community engaged their lawyer who advised them to carry out an autopsy at the Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH) to identified how they died and the corpses were released to the community on Wednesday for burial.
Our correspondent observed that emotions ran highly when the corpses arrived at the community from Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH) for burial.
The 38-year-old mother of six and wife of late Elish Yakubu Bot cried and wailed until she was almost blank. She was revived and consoled by the villagers who were also crying uncontrollablly.
She called on Federal Government to investigate the alleged killings of three community members whose corpses were dumped at Bingham University Teaching Hospital, Jos.
“I will not accept this injustice, people who are.paid by Federal Government to protect innocent persons are the one killing them. My husband was only doing community service, why will he be killed? I want the Federal Government to provide my husband alive and take decisive action on the perpetrators,” she cried.
Efforts to speak with the spokesperson of the Operation Safe Haven (OPSH), Major Shittu Adebanjo, proved abortive as he did not take his calls.