The Fulani Herdsmen said confrontation is a wrong approach to ending clashes with farmers in the region.
An association of cattle breeders in Nasarawa State has insisted that it was Nigerian soldiers that invaded Keana Town, a Fulani settlement, last Thursday. It also called for a thorough probe of the incident.
Muhammad Salihu, the Secretary of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, MACBAN, Nasarawa State chapter, stated the group’s position on Tuesday in Abuja, arguing the group is certain
about its claims.
The cattle breeders said “Nigerian soldiers” stormed the Fulani settlement in Keana, in the early hours of last Thursday, killing over 30 Fulanis.
Most of the deceased were said to be over 70-year-old and had lived in the area for more than 20 years, the breeders said. They also claimed women’s arms were twisted and broken in the attack.
“We are certain that soldiers perpetrated the act,” Mr. Salihu said. “They came with APCs, Armoured Personnel Carriers.”
The Nigerian Army said it was investigating the incident but the cattle breeders said they do not trust that the investigation would yield the perpetrators.
The invasion is believed to be a reaction to series of “Fulani herdsmen” attacks on villages in the grazing lands of Nasarawa, Benue and Plateau states, in Nigeria’s Middle Belt region.
Mr. Salihu said that a direct confrontation approach adopted by the soldiers is not the best way to approach the recurring clash between farmers and Fulani herdsmen that have killed hundreds in the region.
“It’s unfortunate that the government think that by attacking the nomads then they are solving the problem; it’s not done. We agree in every tribe or group you have bad eggs but direct confrontation is not the best way to resolve the issue,” he said.
One of the survivors, Salamatu Jibrin, said the soldiers, in their combat uniform, drove up to her compound, handpicked victims, including visitors who had come to condole with her family over her father in-law’s death.
Her father in-law, she said, was buried three days earlier.
Ms. Jibrin who spoke in Hausa said the soldiers picked the men out and separated them into groups before opening fire on them.
Ms. Jibrin, like many others, lost her husband to the killings.
The MACBAN Secretary, Benue State Chapter, Garus Gololo, said 32 bodies were recovered after the attack and buried in Lafia, the Nasarawa State capital.
The herdsmen demanded a thorough investigation as well as compensation for families of the victims.
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