Three young men, ‘detained’ in April by Central Nigerian authorities have been found in mortuary six months later.
Special Task Force officials on April 20, 2019 allegedly arrested 17 vigilante members in Kwi village, 10kms southeast of Jos International Airport, Plateau State, killing Mr. Elisha Yakubu, Bot Bulus and Joshua Dung in custody.
The community had made distress calls to the Task Force following a deadly ambush by suspected herdsmen, it was learnt.
The securities reportedly arrived several minutes late, shooting and arresting indiscriminately.
“Without a question, they started shooting at us,” eyewitness, Madaki Shedrach Danjuma told journalists on Wednesday.
Seeing three of their colleagues gunned down, the locals surrendered and were taken into custody, leaving behind the corpse of their tribesman killed by the initial ambushers.
“They took us to their Sector 9 base before moving us to the STF Headquarters in Jos and called us robbers,” Danjuma said.
The 14, kept in a separate cell from the wounded three were tortured for months, another detainee, Samuel Dung said.
“The first day, they tortured us for more than five hours, beating us mercilessly and pouring water on us,” Dung narrated.
Family relations, lawyers and community stakeholders were denied access to the detainees until they were transferred to Police custody several months later, it was gathered.
The other three, thought to have died in custody were donated to a local hospital for anatomy experiments, says a human rights lawyer, Barr. Solomon Dalyop.
“We wrote several letters and petitions before the 14 were released in August. The Task Force denied knowledge of their whereabouts but after thorough and vigorous search, we learnt their corpses were donated to Bingham University Teaching Hospital for research,” he said.
The Director, Emancipation Centre for Crisis Victims in Nigeria said the community would seek legal redress on the matter.
In his words, the ECCVN boss said, “They killed our youths for responding to a situation that they couldn’t respond to and never responded to our letters demanding their whereabouts.
“It is a concealment of act of extrajudicial killing which is never within the contemplation of the Nigerian laws and we will be left with no option than to seek legal redress.”
The murder however does not just have legal but social and economic implications.
“The killing of our youths by people who are supposed to guard us shows that our children have no hope for the future,” says Dr. Dauda Gyemang, former Rector of the Plateau State Polytechnic.
A former Plateau State Commissioner of Finance, Hon. Davou Mang said the persistent conflicts and culpability of the security have caused fear to work and earn, thus increasing hardship for the locals.
Wife of one of the slain youths, Mrs. Martha Elisha pleaded for government to help her feed her six orphaned children.
As of publishing time, inquiries sent to Police and STF officials had yet to be replied.
Efforts to reach the Bingham University Teaching Hospital, Jos also proved abortive.