17 Victims of Suspected Herdsmen Killings Get Mass Burial in Nasarawa

  • Again, four Killed in Plateau mid-day attack

Seriki Adinoyi in Jos and Emmanuel Ukumba in Lafia

Seventeen persons who were allegedly killed at the wake of the recent coordinated attacks on Tiv settlements by suspected herdsmen in Nasarawa State were wednesday given mass burial.

Accordingly, seven of the victims had their corpses buried at the Christian cemetery in Lafia, the state capital, while the remaining 10 corpses were buried in Keana, headquarters of Keana Local Government Area of the state.

The marauding herdsmen had, during the coordinated attacks that lasted for five days, killed no fewer than 80 Tiv villagers.

President of Tiv Youths in Nasarawa State, Peter Ahemba, told journalists in Lafia that the leadership of the Tiv community of the state was left with no other option than to bury the victims outside their ancestral abodes against the customs of the Tiv tradition.

Accordingly, Ahemba lamented that the mass burial of the slain Tiv persons was performed out of their ancestral homes because the suspected gun-wielding herdsmen were still laying siege in the Tiv deserted villages for possible attack.

He said: “We are left with no other option than to bury the victims outside their places of abodes as the Tiv villages have been invaded and taken over by the suspected armed herdsmen. So we could not afford to risk more lives in going to bury those victims in their places of abode as demanded by our tradition.

“This is moreso that the corpses have already started decomposing at the Dalhatu Araf Specialist Hospital, Lafia due to congestion at the hospital’s mortuary.”
The Tiv youths president further explained that apart from those buried on masse wednesday, many other victims had earlier been buried at different locations across Awe, Keana, Obi and Doma Local Government Areas of the state.

Ahemba concluded that search for the recovery of more casualties was ongoing in the affected communities.
However, the police command has said it has arrested about 16 suspected Fulani herdsmen in connection to the ongoing killings in Obi, Awe and Keana Local Government Areas of the state.

Parading the suspects at the police headquarters in Lafia, the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Bello Ahmed, said the command, with
support from the state government, critical stakeholders and other security agencies were able to stem the tide of the senseless killings and attacks.

The police, however, confirmed the arrest of five suspected Fulani herders who were behind the gruesome killing of three policemen in the state.

The apprehended suspected Fulani herdsmen, according to the police commissioner include Bawa Alhaji, Aliyu Waziri, Muhammed Auta Riga, Sale Muhammad and Alhaji Adamu Auta.

He disclosed that the suspects were all arrested in Riga Auta, along Radio House, in Keana Local Government Area of the state.
Items recovered from the suspects were one AK 47 rifle with 30 rounds
of 7.62mm live ammunition.
Ahmed said: “It is quite unfortunate that these attacks were not only unleashed on innocent citizens, but also on security personnel who were trying to restore peace and order in the affected communities.
“On April 16, 2018 there were attacks on our men while responding to distress calls in Awe and Keana Local Government Area which led to the loss of three police personnel on peacekeeping mission.

The police boss also disclosed that the command has also arrested four Fulani herders mercenaries, who migrated from the Shendam area of Plateau State into Azara Development Area of Awe Local Government Area of the state, who came to unleash terror on Azara and its environs, adding that investigation was on going to arrest other mercenaries in the state.

He said those mercenaries apprehended were Mohammed Sani- Adamu, Shuaibu Alhaji, Saidu Mahammadu and Adamu Jatau.
Ahmed further revealed that on April 17, 2018, the 177 Battalion, Brigade of Guards in Keffi arrested and handed over to the command, one Umaru Jafaru while returning back from Yelwata area of Benue State after allegedly carrying out an attack.

Meanwhile, after a few days of respite, attacks in Plateau State have resumed in a frightening dimension, leaving four persons dead in Nche Tahuta village of Jebu Miango district of Bassa Local Government Area yesterday afternoon.

In the past, attackers were known to hide under the dark of the night to unleash mayhem, but that was not so yesterday when the gunmen suspected to be Fulani herders struck in broad daylight at about 12 noon, and opened fire on a group of people excavating sand from a stream in the community, killing four persons on the spot. Several others escaped with gunshot wounds.

The Chairman of Irigwe Development Association, Mr. Sunday Abdu, who confirmed the attack, expressed shock at the latest onslaught, noting that there has been an ongoing peace talk between the natives and the herders with a view to restoring lasting peace to the local government.

While lamenting that the herders have violated the peace agreement reached with them, Abdul enjoined the security agents to do more at securing his people, seeing that the herders are always on the offensive and unwilling to embrace peace.
He said: “Can you imagine that killings have resumed again in spite of the various channels of reconciliation that we have explored to ensure peaceful co-existence. I am appealing to the security agents to be more vigilant and comb everywhere to fish out these criminal elements.”

When contacted, the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr. Terna Tyopev, said he got wind of the incident but was yet to be briefed by the Divisional Police Officer in charge of the area.

Meanwhile, as the time of filing this report, irate youths in the area have taken to the street in protest, blocking the road linking the local government with Jos, and regrouping for possible reprisal.