The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, MACBAN, has stated that Saturday’s massacre of at least 86 people who were attending a funeral event in Plateau state was an act of revenge following an earlier attack on Fulani herdsmen.
The police had stated that 86 people were killed in several villages of Barkin Ladi Local Government Area of Plateau state, while six persons were injured in the attack that lasted from 1pm to 8pm.
The state government has imposed a dusk to dawn curfew in parts of the state, amid growing tensions between locals and migrant herdsmen community. Residents are blaming the attacks on Fulani herdsmen, a group represented by MACBAN.
Speaking on Monday, the chairman, the north central chapter of Miyetti Allah, Danladi Ciroma, condemned the attacks, but said they were “retaliatory”.
In a statement, he said, “These attacks are retaliatory. As much as I don’t support the killing of human being, the truth must be told that those who carried out the attacks must be on revenge mission.
“Fulani herdsmen have lost about 300 cows in the last few weeks – 94 cows were rustled by armed Berom youths in Fan village, another 36 cows were killed by Berom youths. In addition to that, 174 cattle were rustled.”
The police said the attacks occurred in Barkin Ladi Local Government Area. It almost led to reprisal attacks by in Jos, the state capital, on Sunday, with the government imposing a dusk-to-dawn curfew. “Eighty six (86) persons all together were killed, six people injured, fifty (50) houses burnt, fifteen (15) motorcycles burnt down; two (2) motor vehicles burnt down,” the Police Public Relations Officer in Plateau, Terna Tyopev, had said.
Meanwhile, the Inspector-General of Police, IGP Ibrahim Idris, has deployed a Special Intervention Force to Plateau to restore peace in Barkin Ladi, Riyom, and Jos South local government areas as well as other flash points in the state.
Force Public Relations Officer, FPRO Jimoh Moshood, in a statement issued in Abuja on Monday, disclosed that two police aerial surveillance helicopters, five Armored Personnel Carriers, APCs, and three Police Mobile Force Units, PMF, were deployed.
He said that two Counter Terrorism Units, CTU, and Police Intelligence Unit and conventional police personnel from other states have also been deployed to the affected areas.
Moshood added that the Deputy Inspector-General of Police in charge of operations had relocated to Plateau on the directive of the I-G to coordinate and supervise the operations.
He noted that “the I-G has directed the Commissioner of Police in charge of I-G monitoring unit to lead the police special investigation team to the affected areas and other flash points in Plateau.”
He stated that the investigation team comprised the Intelligence Response Team, IRT, the Special Tactical Squad, STS, and the Technical Platforms.
He said “the team is to carry out thorough and discreet investigation into the killings and promptly apprehend those responsible.”
The spokesman added that the police special intervention force included personnel of Force Criminal Intelligence and Investigation Department, FCIID, a detachment of Police Explosive Ordnance Department, EOD, Police K9 (Sniffer Dogs Section), conventional policemen, special anti-robbery squads.
Moshood said that the team, which had started arriving, were already working with the police command in the state to restore peace and sustain normalcy in the affected areas.
He pointed out that “to achieve success in this operation, the team will be proactive and strict in the enforcement of its mandates, police standard operations procedures and rule of engagement will be fully adhered to.
“The police special intervention force will ensure full enforcement of the curfew imposed on the affected areas by the Plateau Government.”
The police spokesman noted that personnel of the special intervention force would carry out 24 hours surveillance and patrol, stop and search vehicles and suspected locations and hideouts of suspected assailants.
“The team will also engage in continuous raid of identified criminal hideouts and black spots, with a view to arrest those responsible for the killings and prevent any further attacks.”
He called on traditional rulers, religious leaders, community leaders, youth groups, public office holders, politicians, opinion leaders and parents to support the police.
The FPRO also called on the public in the affected areas, other flash points or in any other location in the state with information to call the following numbers: 07059473022, 08038907662, 08075391844, and 09053872296.