John Shiklam in Kaduna
Fresh violence between farmers and herdsmen in Kajuru Local Government Area of Kaduna State has reportedly claimed 37 lives with scores injured within two days.
It was learnt that the incident Â started last Sunday when some Fulani youths allegedly Â went to a village at Ungwan Uka to avenge the killing of a certain herdsman said to have been attacked and killed some days back by some Kadara youths at a farm in Banono village.
The herdsman Â was said to be a known bandit who had been harassing people in the area.
He was said to have been killed by a mob while attempting Â to escape.
Sources claimed that Â the Fulani community in the area, who alsoÂ knew the man to be a banditÂ was briefed on the incident. Â However, the Fulani youths were said to have protested against the killing, insisted on avenging the killing of the man.
â€œThe Chief of Kajuru even called them and spoke with them but we were surprised that on Sunday morning, they came and carried out the attack,â€ a sources said.
It was gathered that the Fulani youths killed five Kadara youths who they identified to have participated in the killing of the suspected bandit.
The action of the Fulani youths was said to have Â angered the Kadara youths who allegedly mobilised themselves last Monday and launched an attack on the surrounding Fulani settlements, killing 12 people while tents and other property were burnt.
An eyewitness, Salisu Mohammed, said last Monday after the attack that some security agents were drafted to the affected communities and there was Â calm adding that things got out of hand when the security personnel left as Kadara youths allegedly launched another attack on the surrounding Fulani settlement and killed about 10 people.
He said the victims were buried in a mass grave, adding that Â while at the burial site, there was information about nine Â more bodies recovered at various points in the surrounding bushes.
A Kadara youth who spoke on the issue on condition of anonymity however, said Â efforts were being made by elders and community leaders in the area Â to calm the restive youths as tension mounts.
â€œWe have been hearing of several attacks but when I called people in some of the communities, they say theyâ€™re not true,â€ he said but added that no less than 10 persons including a seven month old baby died in the attack,â€ he said.
When contacted,Â acting Police Public Relations Â Officer of the Kaduna State Police Command,Â Yakubu Sabo, an Assistant Superintendent of Police (DSP), Â said the police were Â aware of a misunderstanding among some individuals in the community which later led to a clash when some people took the laws into their hands.
He said the police and the army had however gone to the place and brought the situation under control.
â€œNot only the police but the joint patrol comprising the police and army are still there and situation has been brought under control. I spoke with them this afternoon and they confirmed to me theyâ€™re still there, there is no way this type of thing will happen and we will just withdraw like that,â€ he said.
He, however, said Â the number of casualties could not be immediately confirmed, adding that as soon as it is confirmed, â€œI will let you know but for now, we donâ€™t know.â€