Teddy Nwanunobi, Abuja
The Senate yesterday directed its Committee on Defence to inquire from the Military High Command the identity of the assailants that attacked Barkin-Ladi in the early hours of Saturday, May 2. While expressing sympathy with the people of Plateau State, the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekwerenmadu, who presided over the affairs at the Senate’s chamber,prayed that insurgency in Nigeria will come to end soon. “We condemn it and (we) hope (that) it will come to an end at the shortest possible time. Since we are not sure whether this attack came from the Armed Forces or insurgents or armed militia.
“Let me quickly suggest that the Committee on Defense should contact the military high command to verify the identity of those who carried out this attack,” he said. Earlier, while raising a Point of Order, Senator Victor Lar, said that the assailants came in 11 Toyota Hilux vehicles and dressed like men of the Nigerian Army. He said that the attackers raided five villages, leaving 50 people dead, over 100 wounded and 20,000 others displaced. “The immediate cause of the attack is not known. We suspect that these are armed militias, or Boko Haram or soldiers but they are using Nigerian Army uniforms.
“They are using equipment that are exclusively known and reserved for use by the Nigerian Army, but their operations tended to imply that they are not genuine Nigerian Army personnel because they used machetes. “They shot at and killed women and children. They killed uniform policemen and civil defence personnel. They burnt down every house within reach, and they used petrol to burn the bodies of the victims that they killed,” he alleged.Lar stressed that the attacks were war crimes, which contravened the provisions of the Geneva Convention. He, therefore, urged the Senate to put its relevant committee in motion to investigate the attack and ensure that the military command proves or disproves that it was its men that attacked the villages. “I plead that this Senate shows the usual understanding it has been showing in attending to the plight of members of my constituency,” he added