Apr. 7, 2014
The Fulani have been asked not to take laws into their hands.
The village head of Rugan Ardo, Abubakar Sodangi, has said that the people killed on Thursday during a military operation in Keana Local Government were tied before they were executed.
Mr. Sodangi stated this during a condolence visit by the state governor, Umaru Al-Makura, to the Osana of Keana, Emmanuel Elayo, on Friday.
Soldiers had been accused of mounting an operation in the local government on Thursday, killing about 30 Fulani. The village head, however, said 15 people were killed in the attack.
Mr. Sodangi said that the soldiers had first visited while the community was mourning the death of his father. He said the soldiers asked why his family was sitting under a tree receiving condolences; and that they were then shown the grave of his father.
According to him, the soldiers left and returned to tie nine people together, head to head. The nine were taken 100 metres away and then executed, he said.
Mr. Sodangi said 15 people were killed by the soldiers, including his own son.
Governor Al-Makura called on the Nigerian government to review the military operation in the state, to guide against civilian casualties.
He said the casualties of the Thursday operation were herdsmen resident in Keana and not insurgents as widely reported by some national dailies. He therefore stressed the need for the operation to be reviewed, to focus on tracking the real insurgents traversing the borders of Benue, Nasarawa, Adamawa, Plateau, Taraba and Kogi States.
Mr. Al-Makura stated that he was not informed of the military operation until it was underway. He then emphasised the need for traditional rulers to be duly informed of such operations in their locality in order to avert the incidence of innocent casualties.
The governor called on the people of the area, especially the herdsmen, to remain calm and not take laws into their hands.
The Osana of Keana, Mr. Elayo, described the incident as “unfortunate” as herdsmen and farmers in the area were working hard to fish out criminals infiltrating their ranks to cause mayhem.
He said that most of those killed were resident in his domain and had lived peacefully with other ethnic groups in the area.
He said 10 corpses were brought to his palace by the herdsmen, while three other victims were receiving treatment at the hospital.
He urged the people of the area to eschew all forms of violence as no meaningful development could be achieved in an atmosphere of rancour.
The Nigerian military has said it is investigating the killings.