Published On: Mon, Jun 25th, 2018

Plateau Massacre: Police Confirm 86 Dead, Cattle Breeders Association Says It’s ‘Retaliatory’ Killing

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The Plateau State Police Command has confirmed the killing of 86 people in attacks on Razat, Ruku, Nyarr, Kura and Gana-Ropp villages of Gashish District in Barkin Ladi Local Government Area, even as the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) said the killing was retaliatory by herdsmen.

The command had earlier on Sunday said that only 11 persons were killed.

The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) in Plateau, Terna Tyopev, confirmed the new casualty figures “after a careful search of the villages attacked.”

“Sequel to the attack in Gashish District of Barkin Ladi local government area, the Commissioner of Police, Mr Undie Adie after deploying more personnel to the District sent a search and rescue team from the command Headquarters for an on-the-spot assessment .

“The team headed by ACP Edeh John of the Department of Operations also had the DPO of Barkin Ladi Division and a Unit Commander from Mopol 38.

“After a careful search of the villages attacked in the district, it was discovered that 86 persons all together were killed and six severely injured

“Fifty houses, two cars and 15 motorcycles were completely burnt down,” Tyopev said.

The command’s image maker explained that the dead bodies were released to the families for burial.

The PPRO said the 11 deaths earlier confirmed by the command was based on the information at its disposal until the arrival of the search and rescue team from the scenes of attacks.

Meanwhile, the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders’ Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) has described the attacks on some communities in Plateau state as an act of retaliation.

The attack by suspected herdsmen in Riyom, Barakin Ladi and Jos south local government areas of the state left scores dead by Saturday night.

Conflicting figures ranging from 100 to 120 persons were reportedly killed in the incident while the police confirmed 86 casualties.

In a statement on Monday, Chairman, North-central zone of MACBAN, Danladi Ciroma, said described the attack as ‘retaliatory’, saying herdsmen in the state had lost about 300 cows in the weeks leading to the attack.

He accused the communities of hiding cattle rustlers among them as well as frustrating peace efforts of the state government.

“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,” Ciroma said.

“There have been recent reports of cow rustling and destruction of farms between Berom farmers and Fulani herdsmen. The people carrying out these criminal activities are well known to the communities but the communities are hiding them.

“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 and the criminals disappeared with them to Mangu.

“Since these cows were not found, no one should expect peace in the areas. Even soldiers that went after the criminals to recover the rustled cows were shot by the armed rustlers and eventually escaped with all the cows.

“The government of Governor Lalong has done a lot to restore peace, but the criminal elements hiding among their people are the ones frustrating these peace efforts.”

He added that the security agencies should be fair to all parties, and should not neglect any report presented by the Fulani “because such report can lead to attacks and deaths if not properly handled.”

“Criminals thrive a lot in Berom communities, but when the Fulani, who are always victims of their crime, react with attacks, they blame the government,” he added.

Hundreds have been killed this year alone in attacks by suspected herdsmen as well as in clashes between the headers and farmers.

President Muhammadu Buhari had vowed to bring the killers to book.

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