Jos the Plateau State capital which had enjoyed relative peace for several weeks was engulfed in bloody violence, Monday, leaving over 20 dead and over 50 others injured.

In the violence, over 50 vehicles and 100 motorcycles were burnt with some of the occupants trapped as their vehicles were torched by rampaging youths.

Top security chiefs in the state had last weekend met with religious and community leaders to fashion out strategies for a peaceful Sallah celebration in the state.

Eye witnesses gave different versions of what led to the fresh violence. A version said members of the Izala Islamic Group who celebrated the end of the Ramadan yesterday were attacked by youths along Rukuba Road, a Christian dominated area while going for prayers at an abandoned mosque located in the area. The mosque was abandoned in the wake of the previous crisis.

However, another version said the Muslim youths going for the prayers, contrary to the directive of the police that they must not carry dangerous weapons to the praying grounds during the Sallah, brandished daggers, knives and other dangerous weapons which they waved dangerously at residents of the area as they drove past.
This was said to have infuriated the residents who were said to have mobilized in preparation for a showdown with the Muslims after the prayers, but were dispersed by members of the Special Task Force (STF) who allegedly shot and killed some of them.

The youths were said to have gone berserk when they were allegedly shot at from inside the mosque and in retaliation they stormed the mosque where they torched parked vehicles and motorcycles. They also allegedly attacked and killed some people inside the mosque.

Unconfirmed reports said some of the rampaging youths were killed when soldiers opened fire to curtail the violence while several were injured and rushed to hospital.



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