Herdsmen attacks: Deadlier than Boko Haram

Herdsmen attacks: Deadlier than Boko Haram

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Their activities can lead to civil war – Afenifere

Our people only kill in revenge – MIYETTI

By Vincent Kalu

Going by the number of deaths caused by Fulani herdsmen in the last 12 months, they appear to have become deadlier than the dreaded Islamic sect, Boko Haram. Findings by Saturday Sun show that between June 2016 and May 2017, the cattle rearers were alleged to have sent about 1,102 people to their early graves from various attacks in different states, especially, Kaduna, Benue, Delta, and other states in the South and North Central. This is in sharp contrast to the figure recorded by the Islamic sect that killed 474 within the same period from various attacks in the Northeast, especially, Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states.

In Southern Kaduna alone, from statistics released by the leadership of the Catholic Diocese of Kafanchan in Kaduna State, over 808 people were killed between July and December 2016 from various attacks carried out by the herdsmen in 53 villages across four local government areas of Kaura, Sanga, Jama’a and Kauru.

On February 22, the alleged invasion of three villages in Kaura and one in Jema’a local government areas in Southern Kaduna by herdsmen also led to the death of 28 persons, including two police personnel. Last July, Fulani herdsmen killed about 81 people in Benue State from multiple attacks.

In Gbemacha council ward of Gwer Local Government Area of Benue State, six people were killed on March 2, to avenge the killing of one of their colleagues.

In the sane vein, the herdsmen reportedly killed three youths of the area who tried to resist them, but were countered by the armed herdsmen who besieged the community in great numbers and sacked the locals from their homes.

Suspected Fulani herders struck again allegedly killing eight more people in the night of May 13. Communities affected include Mbavuur council ward of Logo Local Government Area where six people were killed and Mbaya council ward of neighbouring Buruku Local Government Area where two people were killed.

Two persons lost their lives after suspected herdsmen struck in Afam Uku, Oyigbo Local Government Area of Rivers State, on May 19.

On May 14, gunmen suspected to be Fulani herdsmen also stormed Etogi village in Niger State and attacked the community mosque in Gbara ward of Mokwa local government, killing 21.

The attack was as a result of an earlier disagreement between some Fulani youths and members of the affected community, which resulted in the death of a herder.

Suspected Fulani herdsmen had on May 11, reportedly beheaded a commercial motorcyclist identified as, Udoka Ossai and six farmers who were indigenes of Ossissa community in Ndokwa East Local Government Area of Delta State.

Local community sources said that the incident occurred at 6:30pm that Thursday when the Okada rider went to drop a passenger at Ossissa Junction along the Ughelli/Asaba expressway, while the farmers who worked with Ugo Farm were ambushed on their way home.

The deceased Okada rider who was said to be in his late 20s was returning after dropping the passenger at the roadside when the herdsmen who had been having a running battle with local community farmers in the area attacked him.

It was gathered that the herdsmen after beheading the motorcyclist fled the area before community youths arrived the scene.

In the same vein, suspected Fulani herdsmen on January 8, reportedly hacked five farmers to death in two separate attacks in Abraka and Obiaruku, both in Ethiope East and Ukwuani Local Government Area of Delta State.

Also on March 20, a herdsman killed his landlord and farmer, Musliu Aliu at Igbeti in the Oke-Ogun area of Oyo State. A woman was also stabbed in the stomach and had been hospitalised, while about 19 houses were razed in the aftermath of the incident.

In Cross River State, suspected herdsmen on April 1, killed no fewer than 10 persons in Obio Usiere in Eniong Abatim, Odukpani Local Government Area in a raid that forced rural dwellers to run for dear lives.

The Edo State Police Command recently arrested three Fulani herdsmen

for allegedly killing former Etsako East Local Government Area Chairman, Hon. Suleiman Afegbua.

In the first week of May, the death toll in the killings by suspected herdsmen in Takum and Ussa local government areas of Taraba state rose to 18. The killings, which started at Tati village in Takum before spreading to Kwesati village in Ussa had earlier claimed 13 lives bringing the total figure to 31.

The latest of their lethal attacks drew the ire of the Senate at its plenary on Wednesday, which urged the security agencies to halt, arrest and prosecute Fulani herdsmen for raping and killing six Edo women among other criminal activities across the country. Two of the women killed by the herdsmen were identified as Martina Emoyon and one Ariu. Both hailed from Ewu in Esan Central local government council while the other four unidentified victims hailed from Edo North senatorial district.

Boko Haram becomes lesser evil 

A scrutiny of the activities of Boko Haram insurgent within the same period under review shows that the Islamic sect killed far less than half of the people killed by herdsmen.

On May 5, five people were killed in an attack by two female suicide bombers in the Northeast. On the 13th, one person was killed and another injured by suicide bombers at the University of Maiduguri. Also, on the 15th, nine members of the insurgent group arrived on motorcycles in Amarwa, a suburb of Maiduguri, and killed 11 farmers in their fields with machetes before escaping. On the 16th, three female suicide bombers attacked a herding community in northeast Nigeria, killing two people and injuring seven others.

On the 20th, at least seven people were killed and more than 40 injured from gunshots in separate attacks by Boko Haram militant group rampaging within recently liberated Borno communities.

Their activities in April, 2017 show that on the 7th, seven persons were killed by Boko Haram militants near Maiduguri. On April 26, seven were killed by two bombings in Maiduguri. On the 25th, four civilians were killed and 13 others were injured when three suicide bombers blew themselves up in Borno State. The same day, a vigilante and a civilian were killed and 11 others were injured when three suicide bombers blew themselves up. On the 28th, at least five soldiers were killed and another 40 injured when a Boko Haram extremist blew himself up.

In March 2017, reports show that: Boko Haram militants on the 13th executed three men. They were accused of being Nigerian military spies.

On the 15th, four soldiers and a police officer were killed in a Boko Haram ambush in Magumeri. On the same day, four female teenage suicide bombers killed six people and injured 16 others in a residential area in Maiduguri. On the 16th, two soldiers and a police officer were killed and many others injured in a Boko Haram attack. On the 17th, a police officer was killed and another was injured in a Boko Haram ambush.

On the 19th, three suicide bombers killed at least four people and injured eight others in Maiduguri. Also, a soldier was killed and 13 others injured in an operation on the 20th. Eight people were killed in multiple suicide blasts along a highway in Maiduguri on the 22nd.

On the 30th, Boko Haram ambushed Dangote trucks, killing three persons, including two drivers, and injuring three others at Kubuwa village. In the same day, 12 people were killed in multiple Boko Haram attacks on Wumyeduga village. At least 23 people were also injured in the multiple attacks, which involved the detonation of explosives by a suspected female suicide bomber at the village’s cemetery, Damboa.

For the month of February, 2017 statistics of death toll caused by the insurgent group show that, a security personnel and a civilian were killed in an attack in Damaturu on the 7th. On the 11th, seven soldiers were killed and 19 injured in Boko Haram ambush in Borno State. On the same day, the sect invaded a village in Borno State and set ablaze dozens of residential houses and a person trapped in the attack died.

On the 13th, Boko Haram invaded Mifa community in Chibok Local Government Area of Borno State, killing an Islamic scholar and breaking the hands of a boy. On the 17th, suicide bombing killed two civilians, while the police in Maiduguri killed eight of the attackers.

In January, 2017, a large group of militants attacked a Nigerian Army base in Buni Yadi, but were repelled by government forces. At least five soldiers and 15 attackers were killed, with an unknown number injured in Yobe. On the 10th, two female bombers killed themselves and three other people, when they went to private residences in the Kalari area, disguised as visitors. On the 11th, a bomb planted by Boko Haram militants in Yobe killed a Nigerian soldier.

On the 13th, suicide bombers killed six and injured many in a crowded market in Madagali. On the 14th,two soldiers were killed in Borno State in a roadside bombing. On the same day, three soldiers were killed by Boko Haram. Ten attackers were also killed. On the 16th, two teenage suicide bombers exploded at University of Maiduguri, killing three people, including a professor.

On the 23rd, the sect invaded a  Borno village, killed eight people and abducted an unspecified number of women and children. Also, on the 25th,

The insurgent group killed four people in multiple suicide bombing attacks in Miaduguri. On the 29th, the sect attacked a convoy of motorists along a recently secured highway, killing at least seven people and injuring many others Borno. On the 30th, the sect killed 15 people in Madagali. On the 31st, a suicide bomber stormed the Dalori quarters mosque, during the morning prayers, killing one of their members in Maiduguri.

The reports of the sect’s killings in December 2016, show that on the 9th  about 57 were killed and 177 injured in two explosions in Madagali.

on the 13,  the sect’s attacks left three dead and 17 Injured in Maiduguri. On the 11th, three people were killed in in two suicide bombing attack in Maiduguri. On the 13th, Boko Haram attacked a military base in Borno state village of Kamuya leaving scores dead. On the 17th, eight African Coalition Forces were killed by Boko Haram militants in Lake chad.

On the 26th, two suicide bombers struck in Maiduguri. Only one of the attackers was said to have died, as the other was reportedly captured before striking.

For the month of November 2016, reports have it that on the 1st, nine civilians were killed when a car bomb exploded near a military checkpoint in Gubio. On the 5th, an army officer and six soldiers were killed by Boko Haram militants in a gun battle in Borno.

On the 8th, gunmen killed more than 30 gold miners in a remote area of northern Maru Nigeria. On the 8th, four people died and six others injured after after suicide bombers exploded improvised explosive device.

On the 11th, two persons were killed in an early morning bomb blast in the Umulari area of Maiduguri.

On the 16th, one other soldier died and eight others injured in the Boko Haram ambush that led to the death of B.U. Umar, a lieutenant colonel in Borno.

On the 18th, Boko Haram suicide bombers caused the death of six persons, injuring many more in multiple bomb blasts.

On the 23th, at least two persons were killed in a suicide bomb attack in Maiduguri.

In October 2016, below is the report of the death toll by Boko Haram. Five persons were killed in an attack by members of the sect in a village in Borno State on the 11th. 18 people were reported dead in an explosion, which occurred in Maiduguri, Borno State on October 12.

On the 29th, two suicide bombers killed at least eight people in  Maiduguri.

On the 17th, Boko Haram claimed it killed 20 soldiers in Ghashghar, Nigeria.

Below is the report for September 2016. On the 19th, 40 were killed in  Malam Fatori. On the 20th, four soldiers and civilian JTF members died in Borno towns of Miyanti and Dareljamal after an ambush on the army by the insurgents. On the 26th, the Nigerian Army lost one officer and three soldiers to a landmine and ambush by the Boko Haram in Maiduguri.

In August 2106, reports show that on the 1st,  nine Christian villagers were cut down by the sect, who also burned three churches in Ninte.

On the 20th, the sect killed seven people with machine guns, before abducting dozens more, in the village of Kuruburu.

In July, 2016, reports show that on the 8th, at least nine people were killed and “dozens” injured after a suicide bombing attack on a Mosque in Borno. There was also a second suicide bombing at another Mosque in Damboa. On the 9th, the insurgent group raided a town with guns and explosives, killing seven people and damaging buildings in Rann.

On the 12th, Boko Haram attack in Borno was repelled by Nigeria Army resulting in the deaths of 25 militants. Two soldiers were killed during the attack in Kangarwa.

June 2016 reports have it that on the 15th, at least four females were killed and several abducted after many Boko Haram militants attacked in Kau Tuva village. Some sources say the number of those kidnapped is four. Many houses were burnt down. Vigilantes followed the attackers and rescued one of the kidnapped after a gun battle. A vigilante was injured. On the 17th, at least 24 people were killed and at least 10 injured after Boko Haram militants attacked a funeral in Kuda. On the 20th, at least two were killed after several Boko Haram militants attacked Wumbi village, the second attack there by them in a week.

Afenifere kicks

Commenting on this development, Spokesman for Afenifere, a Yoruba socio-cultural group, Yinka Odumakin said the activities of the herdsmen can lead to civil war in the country and possible breakup of the country.

According to him, their activities suggest an expansionist agenda. “The Fulani herdsmen we used to know carried stick, but when they started carrying assault rifles like AK 47 and nobody is arresting them, there is hidden agenda to that and it started in 2015. If their activities are not checked, it can lead to civil war and possible break up of the country. There is a limit to which you can take this mindless killings and attacks, including raping women, destruction of communities. They have been above the law all over this country.

“The time will soon come when some of the affected communities would say that enough is enough. I don’t know why it is extremely difficult to call these people to order, and they have become a militia and worse than Boko Haram and their activities will put Nigeria into another civil war and the country cannot survive another civil war.

“Look at their areas of attack, the South and the North Central, and that is why we say it is an expansionist agenda. Grazing reserve in every state is not supported, they should establish ranch, which is the modern way of rearing animals. If you want to rear cattle, go and do a ranch.”

Our people kill only in self-defence

Reacting to the condemnation of the killings by herdsmen, the Assistant National Secretary, Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, Dr. Abdullahi Ibrahim, said in an interview with Saturday Sun that it is not possible that the activities of the herdsmen will lead to civil war and break up of the country. He noted that disintegration is not the solution to the problem stressing that it is a national problem that Nigerians should sit down and discuss.

According to Dr. Ibrahim, the whole issue of Fulani herdsmen is about misconception. “You find a man moving with over 100 cows, and his entire life depends on those cows; he has no bank account where he keeps his money; he has no farm where he grows crops to feed when the cows are not there; he is not educated to look for another job when the business of cattle rearing has ended.

The only thing he knows in life is to rear those cattle, and he is aware that whenever there is any problem that it will affect the lives of his family members and the cattle he is herding.

So, if they told you that such a man could just attack any community, will you believe that? No logic can accept that.

The truth of the matter is that people go and provoke cattle rearers, and attack them, but there are no newspapers or any other media outlet to report that.

When they go back to organise themselves to avenge or carry out reprisal, then it is all in the news. The news is that, Fulani herdsmen or terrorists or whatever you call them are attacking. That is not fair.

“Wherever you see Fulani herdsmen attacking a community, if you look at the cause, you find out that they might have been attacked or their cattle might have been killed or his property or that of his family members before he took that decision to carry out reprisal.

“The movement of nomads is facilitated by the availability of what we call, stock route, which is all over the country, some of them from one country to another. The situation today is that you can hardly walk for ten kilometers without finding one form of human activity or another that blocks such route. It could be a farm or any other thing, and once these cattle rearers encroach on that activity, it is enough to cause trouble.

“What we are saying is that the government should look at the issue of cattle rearing and bring a permanent solution to the problem. To be sincere, I don’t think the traditional way of rearing animals that we find today is suitable in any part of Africa. We need to find a way of settling these people so that they cannot move from one place to another thereby causing trouble.

“There is also the need for journalists to investigate beyond what has happened, and be fair in their reporting. If you say a Fulani man has attacked a community, if you go back you can find out that he had been attacked before. The second issue is that, it is giving the Fulani man a bad name in order to hang him for political reasons, may be because the president of Nigeria is a Fulani and you unleash all this form of propaganda to achieve a political cause.

“We have seen instances where people of other tribes or nationalities appeared as if they were Fulani men and attacked their people, and it would be attributed as herdsmen attack.  We have seen it in Benue and Enugu recently.

There is also the third factor, which all of us must accept, that some of the Fulani have lost their culture because of integration, and are now involved in crime and criminality, and it is very wrong to think that all Fulani are criminals. You have criminals in every tribe, but you cannot say Yoruba armed robber, Igbo armed robber, Ijaw armed robber or kidnapper etc, but you have seen how it is reported in the media, Fulani armed robber or Fulani kidnapper, as if this armed robbery started from the Fulani. It started from the South.

“The last point you motioned about the country disintegrating because of alleged activities of herdsmen, I don’t think that is possible because if you traverse the entire West African subcontinent, there is no where you will not find a Fulani.

So if the Southeast, the Southwest or the South-south decides to secede from Nigeria, there will still be Fulani men in their areas.

“It is a national issue, which is becoming an international issue that we have to sit down and may be with some of our sister West African countries because there is this ECOWAS Protocol on movement of people and goods. The most important thing is that each West African country should sit down and think on how they can collaborate and the problem. Because Nigeria is a tribal oriented country, when there is a problem with your neighbour, you don’t see it as a problem and sometimes you even ignore it, and there is no country that will develop in that way.

“If there is a problem that affected the Igbo or Yoruba as a race and the Hausa man decided to fold his hands because it doesn’t affect him, one day it will come to him. That is how the issue of armed robbery started in early 70s in the Southern part of the country, especially Benin and other towns. Look at it today, every tribe is involved in the business. Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba, Fulani, Ijaw etc.

“It is a national issue that we have to address. It has nothing to do with this country disintegrating. Even if you disintegrate, you will still find Fulani people in your community. Disintegration will never be a solution.”

Senate expresses worry

Worried by continued cases of killings of Nigerians across the country by suspected herdsmen, the Senate at its plenary penultimate Wednesday and, this last Wednesday ordered the Inspector-General of Police, IGP, Ibrahim Idris to as a matter of urgent national security priority, arrest all armed killers masquerading as herdsmen in communities, forests, and farms across the country.

The upper legislative chamber, which constituted an Ad-hoc Committee to investigate all cases of killings by terrorist elements who are masquerading as herdsmen nationwide, also declared that the culprits must be brought to justice.

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