The Special Task Force in Plateau State has given a 48-hour evacuation notice to residents of six villages in the state before it begins a house-to-house search for insurgents responsible for the attacks that led to the death of Senator Gyang Dantong and about 100 other people in the affected villages last weekend.
In an operation that could last several weeks, the STF is to comb through the hills and rocks of all the six villages in search of the insurgents, while warning all the neighbouring villagers of the affected areas to stay away from any village where the military operations are expected to take place.
Special adviser to Governor Jonah Jang on media and publicity, Hon. Pam Ayuba, told LEADERSHIP-SUNDAY that the evacuation order was in a bid to bring lasting peace to the crisis-prone area.
According to him, if there was an order by the STF for the people to evacuate their property for military operation to take place, it’s fine.
He added that the people concerned should comply with the directive pending any arrangement that the state government would work out for them.
Pam also said even though they did not know how long the military operation will last, the state government would assist the people that are involved in the area.
The STF codenamed “Operation Safe Haven” appealed to the people, particularly the inhabitants of Mahanga, Kakuruk, Kuzen, Maseh, and Song 2, to evacuate their property from the area within 48 hours.
STF, in a statement issued in Jos, the Plateau State capital, yesterday, signed by the media officer, Captain Salisu Mustapha, said residents of neighbouring Kura Falls, Kuzuk and Sharuk, Rim of Gashish and Bachit districts are to be careful of their movements within the area to avoid places of military operation till further notice.
The statement further called on the people of the area to also report any suspicious movement or activities in their area to the law enforcement agencies.
Speaking to LEADERSHIP-SUNDAY on the number of troops that will be involved in the military operation in the six villages of Barkin Ladi and Riyom local government areas, STF spokesman Captain Salihu Mustapha said for security reasons he would not disclose it.
He, however, said that the people of the area involved will be called back to their villages when they are through with the operation.
Senator Gyang Dantong representing Plateau North, Hon. Gyang Fulani, a member of the Plateau State House of Assembly, and scores of other people were killed when gunmen attacked sympathisers at a burial ceremony of victims of an earlier attack in the same villages.
The Islamic sect, Boko Haram, had claimed responsibility for the attacks.