By Ben Agande & Chris Ochayi
Kaduna State Commissioner of Police, Alhaji Abdulrahman Ahmad, has picked holes in the figures given by Governor Nasir el-Rufai on the number of people killed in the crisis in Adara, Kajuru Local Government Area of the state, saying the governor pre-empted Police investigations.
Governor el-Rufai had revealed that 66 Fulani were killed in the local government. Later, he jerked up the figure to 130.
However, addressing a press briefing yesterday, the state Commissioner of Police, Abdulrahman, faulted the governor’s casualty figures.
According to the Police boss, investigations were still ongoing and it would be inappropriate to provide figures.
He said: “I told the governor that figures in a crisis of this magnitude should be left alone until investigations are conclu-ded in the areas information are coming from.
“You cannot come up with a figure, otherwise you will quote a particular figure now and quote another later. This is what is happening now. As far as police is concerned, we are investigating and the investigation is still in the embryonic stage.
“As we speak, my men are still in the bush with humanitarian workers trying to actually find out the true position of things.
“The crisis occurred in a terrain full of conglomerate of hamlets, which were difficult to access with our vehicles. We are still uncovering areas where nobody had visited. We are now at the stage of crisis management, which is very delicate.
“That is why nobody should stampede our investigation. If the governor tells you that the casualty figure is 200, he is just quoting figures. It could be more than that or less than that.
“For example, the place where 36 people were said to have been buried, was not in the purview of the security agencies at the commencement of the investigation.
“We didn’t even know that something happened until when the Fulani themselves came out to tell us after we have secured the place in conjunction with the military, that they approached the military to accompany them to their hamlets in order to bury their dead relations.”
He continued: “There was a mix up in the assertion by the Fulani that policemen took pictures of the corpses they buried one after another. That very hamlet where they talked about burying 37 corpses was discovered by the military.
“The terrain was very terrible and we could not even identify areas affected by the crisis between February 10 and 11, when it started. So, no policemen went ahead of the military.
“It was the military that went there first to assist the native Fulani that were affected to bury their dead relatives. The policemen went there later with the GOC, whose men discovered the place, for a stakeholders’ meeting to calm nerves and to find a lasting solution to the nonsense. That was when we were informed that there was a camp which they would want us to see.
“That was when my policemen went there and met some military personnel there and we also saw the graves. That was the day the Police took pictures of the burnt hamlets and shallow graves.
“We were actually perceiving the stench of decomposing corpses, oozing out of the place. We also saw two burnt motorcycles .
“That was the first time that we saw the man who claimed that 37 dead persons were buried in the shallow graves. He even said that his parents, wife, uncle and relations were also among the dead bodies that were buried. We believed him because the whole hamlet was cleared. We could only see the carcasses of animals full of maggots.”
On their operations, he said: “We are working on three prominent theories. First is that unknown gunmen, believed to be Fulani, attacked the Adara people and escaped in the night on February 11.
“The DPO in charge of the area immediately mobilised his men to the area, combed the bushes in search of the perpetrators in the middle of the night. It was there that they started seeing the carnage.
“Unfortunately, the Adara natives went to the Fulani communities and carried out a reprisal attack. At that time, it was easier to identify the perpetrators or those who instigated the reprisal.
“However, we have arrested one of the suspected Fulani that attacked the Adara people and we are still pursuing the others. Although the only Fulani man who was arrested denied any involvement, our men are still working on his case.”