Famine looms as killings spread to Taraba, Nasarawa

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Miyetti Allah alleges conspiracy

Benue to conduct mass burial for fresh victims

By Mohammed Yangida, Lafia, Ibrahim Abdul’Aziz, Yola; Daniel Agbo, Makurdi, and Patrick Ahanor, Benin City

In what appears a spillover of the Fulani herdsmen and farmers clash in Benue at the weekend, another three persons were reportedly killed in Abagu village of Baure district in Awe local government area of Nasarawa state.

And with the displacement of farmers, there is the likelihood of famine in the areas affected by serial herders/farmers’ clashes.

This is fear is coming as herders in Taraba state are accusing both the federal and state governments of conspiracy in the alleged killing of scores of their kinsmen by some Bachama and Nyandang militia group. Speaking to journalists on the Nasarawa killings, Interim Management Committee (IMC) Chairman in Awe local government area of the state, Hudu Tafida, said six suspected killers were arrested in connection with the incident, and were presently assisting the police with useful information.

Tafi da expressed shock at the manner people take laws into their hands, and warned them to desist from doing so or face the full wrath of the law. He expressed the fear that if the crisis is not properly addressed, it would escalate and affect the farming activities in the area and cause food shortage in the state.

This, he noted, is because all those displaced persons were predominantly farmers. The IMC chairman who commended President Muhammadu Buhari and Governor Umaru Al-Makura for prompt restoration of peace and order to the area, appealed for more deployment of security personnel to the area.

“I am calling on government at all levels to come to our aid, especially with more security personnel in Awe in order to tackle the security challenges facing our people.

“As I am talking to you now, Tiv farmers in Awe local government area are taking refuge in Awe town as their houses were burnt and property looted by the attackers.” Those arrested include Mr. Danlami Audu, James Dabir, Bitrus Dachi, Tanko David, Danjuma Biabu and Mark Fidelis.

MACBAN takes stand

Meanwhile, Miyyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association (MACBAN), has vowed to take definite stand over alleged killings of their kinsmen in four villages of Lau local government of Taraba state if the federal government failed to act fast.

Suspected Bachama and Nyandang militia from Adamawa state, had on Friday, reportedly crossed over and launched attacks on Babagasa, Donadda and Katibu villages of three Fulani communities in Lau LGA which share boundary with Adamawa, resulting in loss of lives.

Speaking to newsmen, the North-east zonal chairman of the association, Mafi ndi Umaru Danburam, claimed scores of women and children, mostly Fulani, were killed. “Unfortunately, neither the state nor federal government has made any statement over the heinous attack.

The ethnic armed militia came to the villages brandishing guns and said their cows were stolen and started shooting and setting houses ablaze,” he said. Danburam expressed deep worry over the killings and vowed that, “Miyetti Allah and other Fulani groups are convening a stakeholders’ meeting to take a definite stand on this act of wickedness against our members.”

Also corroborating the group’s position, the state chairman of MACBAN, Sahabi Mahmoud Tukur alleged complicity, saying, “as I am talking to you now, over 25 people were killed mostly the aged, women and children, including a one-year-old boy who was stabbed with arrow.

“This latest attack was coordinated to systematically wipe out the Fulani through ethnic cleansing. For God sake, what justification do they have by attacking innocent people in Taraba? They had their crisis in Adamawa, but imagine the crossover and how they were assisted by Yandangs? Not only that, the state government has kept mute 24 hours after the attacks,” he fumed.

No arrest – Police

Meanwhile, police spokesman, ASP David Misal, said no arrest has so far been made“We are yet to get details and information that could help in tracking down the fleeing attackers. We warn people not to take laws into their hands, security operatives are on top of the situation,” Misal warned.

The police insisted that casualty figure remained at four, with five injured while relations and other sources put figure of the dead victims at 24 .

11 killed in Benue renewed attack

In a related development, 11 persons were reported killed in a renewed attack by suspected herdsmen on communities in Logo local government area of Benue state. The communities are Tse Toradi, Channel One, Akenawe, Meeme and Mnaavuur in Ukemberagya/ Tswarev ward of Gaambe-Tiev Logo LGA Benue state.

The state Governor, Samuel Ortom, who confi rmed this while addressing the congregation during an interdenominational church service to mark the Armed Forces Remembrance Day, said the victims were killed on Saturday. He expressed worry over the continuous unprovoked attacks on his people by the herdsmen. ”

The governor lamented the attitude of the Nigeria Police Public Relations Officer who had the denied that the incident took place. “11 persons were killed on Saturday morning in Logo local area and I have record of how many of them were killed in each of the communities, and I have all their names,” he maintained. He requested for security beef up in the state, saying more vehicles had been acquired to be given to the security agencies to ensure effective patrol of the affected areas.

Ortom reiterated his call on security agents to arrest the leadership of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, expressing the hope that the federal government will soon get to root of the matter.

“Some security outfits had claimed that they did not see the letter we wrote calling for arrest of these people, but we have made copies and sent to them again, calling for their arrest.

These people cannot be seen as sacred cows,” he noted. Governor Ortom, who said the state government was making arrangement to conduct a mass burial for those killed in the renewed attack, noted that a prayer session would also be organised to honour them.

“We are making arrangement to conduct mass burial for those who were killed. Some of them who started decomposing have already been buried but those deposited in Makurdi and those in mortuaries at the affected places will be buried on the same day.”

However, Benue Police spokesperson, Moses Yamu confirmed that only ten people were killed in the attack.

PFN speaks up

Commenting on the spate of killings by “marauding herdsmen”, the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), has called on the federal government to match words with action. The Christian group stated this while decrying the massacre of over 20 people by suspected herdsmen in Benue state.

The association lamented what it described as the “lackluster approach of our security agencies in bringing this mayhem to an end.”

National President of PFN, Rev. Dr. Felix Omobude, in a press statement issued in Benin City, expressed concern over the ugly development, and how the killers “kill innocent Nigerians wiThease, precision and escape justice.” He said: “The PFN is greatly disturbed by the constant killing of Nigerians by the rampaging herdsmen and urged the federal government to tackle the nagging problem decisively by bringing the perpetrators of these dastardly acts to justice.

“PFN believes it’s time our security forces perform their primary duty of protecting the lives and property of Nigerians. Government at various levels should stop paying lip service to tackling the atrocities committed by these herdsmen, suspected to be of Fulani extraction, nationwide.

“It must be stated now and clear that it is in our collective interest to maintain peace as no group has a monopoly of violence. “PFN however calls on all wellmeaning Nigerians to continue to exercise restraint even in the face of provocative and unwholesome activities of armed herdsmen and keep praying for peace and unity of Nigeria.”

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