The police in Plateau have confirmed the killing of three persons and 319 cattle in separate attacks on some villages in Bassa Local Government Area.
According to the state police spokesperson, Tyopev Terna, the killing of the cattle occurred in Billi and Ariri Districts.
He said the cattle were killed a day after three persons were killed and one other was injured in different attacks in Maiyanga and Rotsu villages in the same local government.
Mr Terna confirmed the incident in a statement late Tuesday.
He said two cattle rearers were equally missing in the attack.
His statement reads thus:
“The Plateau State Police Command, Jos, received information on 29/04 /2019 at about 0800hrs to the effect that unknown gunmen attacked Maiyanga area of Miango District. As a result, one Jummai Jah ‘f’ 25yrs and Emmanuel Ishaya ‘m’ 37yrs were killed. A 7 months old girl, Tabitha, survived with a neck injury and is receiving treatment at Enos Hospital at Miango. The information also emphasised that Monday Audu of Rotsu village also in Miango District was shot and matched (macheted) to death.
“While the investigation into these crimes were ongoing, the Command on 30/04 /2019 at about 0730hrs received information that about 319 cattle were attacked and killed, 12 cattle were maimed while 11 cattle were rustled. Two cattle rearers: one Mubarak Yakubu and one Shehu Saidu, both males of different addresses, were missing. All these allegedly took place in Billi and Ariri in Miango District.”
He said the police have mobilised a search and rescue team to rescue the missing rearers while efforts are on the way to track and arrest the perpetrators of the crimes.
Earlier on Tuesday, before the police issued the statement, the state chairman of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), Nura Abdullahi, in a statement sent to PREMIUM TIMES, accused the ‘Irigwe’ of being responsible for the crimes.
According to the leader of the umbrella body of herders, the attack took place in Kuru area of Barkin Ladi Local Government Area, as well as in Kwal area of Bassa Local Government Area.
He said his members lost over 300 cattle “and three rearers were missing.”
The MACBAN chairman also confirmed that he spoke with the commander of a joint security team, Operation Save Haven, Augustine Agundu, on the incident “and he asked him to calm down as measures were being taken to check further occurrence of such incidents”.
Also, the National Secretary of MACBAN, Baba Othman, pleaded with cattle breeders in Plateau State not to engage in retaliatory attacks.
Mr Othman said MACBAN officials and security personnel had conducted an assessment of the area in the aftermath of the attack.
He cautioned against “any form of reprisal,” but called on Plateau authorities to take adequate measures to prevent any breakdown of order.
When contacted, a leader of the Irigwe people, David Chinge, denied the allegations that his tribesmen were responsible for the killings.
“I was not aware of the 300 cattle killed. All I know (is that) we were called today by the commander sector 6, Col. Hassan, that 11 cattle were killed on Monday.
“Apart from that one, I am not aware of the 300 cattle killed. We, as a people, condemn the act and call on both Fulani and Irigwe to live in peace. I also call on Fulani to keep off from the restricted areas where grazing is banned,” Mr Chinge added.
Fulani herders and some Plateau communities have been at loggerheads over the last few years. The youth of both tribes have engaged in bloody confrontations that have led to the loss of human lives and cattle.
The clashes have mainly been over grazing rights and resistance to encroachment over lands.
Attempts by the federal and state governments to end the clashes have not been successful.