Herdsmen surrender 30 guns to police in Niger

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…As 25 killed, 11 houses razed in fresh attacks on Plateau mass burial guests***

Fulani herdsmen have surrendered 30 different guns illegally acquired, to the Police Command in Niger.

The Director-General of the state’s Department of Nomadic Affairs, Alhaji Abdullahi Babayo, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Minna on Tuesday.

Babayo said that the arms were surrendered following peace and reconciliation initiated by the department to enhance peaceful coexistence in the state.

He said the department had already embarked on aggressive sensitisation campaign on the dangers of cattle rustling.

“We have reached out to Islamic clerics, specifically to teach us what our religion said about stealing and killing innocent souls and the punishment there after,” he said.

The director-general explained that the approach from religious point of view had greatly assisted in mobilising those who were doing illegal business to have a rethink.

He said that all efforts were geared toward mobilising Fulani Herdsmen to embrace western and Islamic education to enable them to contribute to the socio-economic and political development of the state .

“We are doing everything possible to stop clashes between herdsmen and farmers over land encroachment during grazing, cattle rustling or other crimes in the state,” he said.

He called for demarcation of cattle routes while attributing the increase in cases of conflict between farmers and herdsmen to non-existence of such routes.

Babayo said the department would continue to partner with security agencies by offering intelligence information on bad elements.

He called for more investment in the education of herdsmen and farmers’ children, stressing that illiteracy was also breeding crimes among the groups.

He enjoined herdsmen to enroll their children, especially girls, in schools.

Meanwhile, the mass burial of victims killed by suspected Fulani herdsmen in several communities in Bassa Local Government of Plateau State was on Tuesday disrupted by a fresh attack which left 25 persons dead.

Those to be given mass burial today were murdered between Thursday, March 8, 2018 when President Muhammadu Buhari paid an official visit to the beleaguered state, and Sunday, March 11.

During the latest attack which took place by 7:00pm on Monday, 11 houses were also razed down.

Persons suspected to be Fulani herdsmen were said to have killed the 25 persons, including three children and two women, in Dundu Village of Kwall District in Bassa LGA of Plateau State.

The spokesperson of Miango Youth Development Association, Lawrence Zongo, confirmed the casualty rate in an interview with The PUNCH in Jos on Tuesday.

He said, “Very sad! Again, Fulani terrorists killed 25 persons in Dundu Village of Kwall District in Bassa LGA of Plateau State.

“Eleven houses were razed down. The villagers were attacked around 7pm yesterday (Monday). Among the victims were three children and two women.

“Others, including two women, are now receiving treatment in a nearby hospital in the community. This is too bad, as we are planning the mass burial of the last attack.

“So far, we have more than 500 Internally Displaced Persons camp. International organisations should please come to our aid.”

When contacted, the spokesperson of Plateau State Police Command, Matthias Tyopev, an Assistant Superintendent of Police, also confirmed the attack , but said the information was sketchy.

According to him, the Plateau State Commissioner of Police, Adie Undie, has ordered a Deputy Commissioner of Police (Operations), Taiwo Jebiyisu, to the scene for an on-the-spot assessment.

He said, “There was an attack yesterday (Monday) in Bassa; as such, the Commissioner of Police, Plateau State Command, has directed the DCP Taiwo Jebiyisu, a Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of Department of Operations, to go to the scene of crime for an on-the-spot assessment.

“As such, he is there now. The information is sketchy. I shall inform you when the details of the attack are made available, please.”

Additional report from punch