The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders’ Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) has described the weekend attacks on some communities in Plateau state as an act of retaliation.
Suspected herdsmen attacked Riyom, Barakin Ladi and Jos south local government areas of the state on Saturday night. Residents said the attack which lasted till Sunday left 100 persons dead even though police confirmed 86 deaths.
In a statement on Monday, Danladi Ciroma, chairman, north-central zone of the cattle breeders association, said herdsmen in the state had lost about 300 cows in the weeks leading to the attack.
He 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 youths in Fan village, another 36 cows were killed by Berom youths. In addition to that, 174 cattle were rustled and the criminals disappeared with them to Mangu.
“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 added that the security agencies should be fair to all parties, and should not 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.