More than 500 killed in less than six months
By Charles Kumolu & Kingsley Adegboye
THEY are supposed to be herdsmen taking care of their cattle. But they have metamorphosed into butchers of human beings wherever they make their abode. That is the story of Fulani herdsmen who have turned the farmlands in several states in the North into slaughter fields.
Their hosts, who ordinarily should be their friends for accommodating them are slaughtered with reckless abandon. Hardly does a day pass without stories of the murderous activities of these nomads dotting the headlines of major newspapers in the country. They kill at the least provocation that one wonders whether they attach any value to human life at all.
Their activities coupled with that of Boko Haram, the Islamic insurgent group, have led to uncountable number of deaths of innocent Nigerians. Over the past few years clashes between these herdsmen and farmers with their horrendous harvests of death have been reported in statesuch as Benue, Plateau, Kaduna, Niger, Jigawa, Sokoto, Edo, Delta, Yobe and Anambra.
As at today, nearly 300 lives have been lost as a result of this killing spree, which has made life in the affected areas, short, nasty and brutish. The latest in this ugly chapter of senseless killings was recorded, yesterday, with another report that gunmen believed to be Fulani herdsmen stormed a meeting in Northern Nigeria’s Zamfara State and killed 30 people.
According to Zamfara State police spokesman Lawal Abdullahi: “Thirty people were killed and several others injured. The incident happened in Galadima, yesterday, during a meeting of community leaders and representatives of vigilante groups who were discussing ways to thwart armed robbers and cattle rustlers’’. But survivors said more than 60 people might have died in the attack.
Preceding this latest attack were others since 2012. In 2012 a serving senator, Dr. Gyang Dantong, and the lawmaker representing Barkin Ladi in the state house of assembly, Gyang Fulani, were killed by suspected Fulani herdsmen at a mass burial in Maseh, Plateau State.
On March 10, 2014, Benue State governor, Gabriel Suswam, narrowly escaped death. His co-envoy was said to have been ambushed by Fulani men. They engaged Suswam and his security aides in exchange of gunfire at Tee-Akanyi village in Guma Local Government Area.
More than 150 people were reportedly killed recently by Fulani herdsmen in an attack on three villages of Ungwar Sankwai, Ungwan Gata and Chenshyi, in Kaduna State. On March 6, no fewer than 25 persons were feared dead in Kwande, Katsina-Ala and Logo local government areas of Benue State after suspected Fulani herdsmen sacked six villages in the three councils.
Similarly, suspected Fulani herdsmen killed 55 in Benue State. The herdsmen launched the clandestine attack at Gbajimba, the headquarters of Guma Local Government Area of Benue State on March 23. About 19 people were also killed and 15 others abducted in different villages of Agatu local government area in Benue state by Fulani herdsmen on March 30, 2014.
Fulani Herdsmen attacked a church killing three. One woman was left widowed for a second time by Fulani Herdsmen on December 31, 2013 in Jos. In a similar attack six members of extended families were killed in their home in Foron by eight Fulani gunmen same month.
No fewer than 40 people were left dead by Fulani herdsmen on Novemeber 25, 2013 in Barkin Ladi Jos. Fulani gunmen also killed 25 Christians in seven villages in Benue State on November 9, 2013.
Muslim Fulani herdsmen attacked Christian communities in the Guma Local Government Area, killing 22 Christian peasant farmers and destroying property worth millions of naira on November 20, 2013.
Fulani herdsmen also launched a coordinated attack on several villages in the state and killed over 21 persons. They invaded villages and killed mostly women and children, as the men were out in the fields, and burned down many buildings in the process on 0ctober 12, 2013 in Benue state.
The orgy of killings did not stop there as about 175 people were killed by Fulani attackers in three Christian villages in Benue State on October 8, 2013.