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Fulani herdsmen kill 32 in Kogi State attack

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PHOTO: NTA.NG

• Senate condemns violence, tasks FG on security
• Army discovers 23 bodies in Plateau village

Fulani herdsmen have killed 32 people in communities in Dekina and Omala Local Government Areas of Kogi State.

The assailants arrived by boat on Wednesday, opened fire on the people and burnt down homes. An eyewitness said they wore military fatigue and wielded AK 47 assault rifles. Many of the residents who fled for their lives remain unaccounted for.

A source claimed the attackers, “about 500”, burnt down over 20 houses, killed anyone in sight and shot at those who tried to escape into the bushes.

The Deputy Commissioner of Police Monday Bala confirmed the incident during a press conference yesterday but declined to give casualty figures. He said the Commissioner of Police Aliyu Janga has drafted policemen and other security operatives to the area to restore order.

Four members of the family of a serving police officer were reportedly killed during the attack. One resident of the area said the incident might be a reprisal for a 2016 altercation that led to the death of four Fulani herdsmen and an unspecified number of cattle.

In February, Governor Yahaya Bello donated 15,000 hectares of land for the controversial Federal Government’s cattle colony policy. He said Fulani herdsmen would be brought to the land, since the state didn’t have any anti-grazing law, as enacted by neighbouring Benue State.

The Senate yesterday condemned the attack and urged the Federal Government to deploy security agencies in the affected local government areas.

The resolution followed a point of order raised by Senator Atai Aidoko (APC, Kogi East). Aidoko said the herdsmen killed 20 people in Oganenigu community in Dekina and 12 others in Abejukolo and Agbenema communities in Omala.

“I want this Senate to urge President Muhammadu Buhari to direct security agencies to bring the situation under control by arresting the perpetrators and ensuring they are prosecuted. This killing is taking on another dimension, as the killers also amputate people’s hands,’’ he said.

Meanwhile, 3 Division Garrison of the Nigerian Army Jos has said it discovered 23 bodies in a village in Plateau State. It also said two soldiers died trying to settle disputes between herdsmen and farmers.

In a statement late Wednesday, Spokesman Brig. Gen Texas Chukwu said troops responded to a distress call. On arrival at the scene however, the herdsmen opened fire on their convoy, killing two soldiers and injuring two others.

“Troops of 3 Division Garrison Jos Plateau State arrested 7 suspects and recovered weapons in the clash between Miango community and herdsmen at Rafiki Village on Wednesday, March 14, 2018. While conducting a search, troops discovered 23 dead bodies at Mararaba Dare, shortly before Rafiki Village, and many wounded civilians.

“Two soldiers paid the supreme price while the two wounded are receiving medical attention at 3 Division Military Hospital and Medical Services. They are stable.

“Weapons recovered include one AK 47 assault rifle with 26 rounds of 7.62mm special and one locally made single-barrel gun loaded with 15 rounds.”

Chukwu said the soldiers have intensified patrol in the area to forestall further breakdown of law and order.

President Muhammadu Buhari visited the state last week to assess its security crisis.


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