In the wake of the mass carnage that left over 100 people dead in Plateau State, the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders’ Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) has said the killings were an act of retaliation over the loss of cows in recent times.
Dozens were killed on Saturday night after suspected herdsmen attacked many villages in Riyom, Barkin Ladi and Jos South local government areas of the state.
Consequently, the state government imposed a dusk to dawn curfew in parts of the state, amid growing tensions between locals and migrant herdsmen community.
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Residents have since blamed the attacks on Fulani herdsmen, a group represented by the Miyetti Allah.
But in a statement issued on Monday, the chairman the north central chapter of MACBAN, Danladi Ciroma, blamed the killings on the fact that herdsmen in the state had lost about 300 cows in the weeks.
He further 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 youth in Fan village, another 36 cows were killed by Berom youth. In addition to that, 174 cattle were rustled and the criminals disappeared with them to Mangu [Local Government].
“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 urged security agencies to be fair to all parties, saying they should 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.