The Police Command in Nasarawa State has confirmed the alleged killing of 27 pastoralists in an ‘airstrike’ in Doma Local Government Area of the state.
Ramhan Nansel, a deputy superintendent of police and the Command’s Public Relations Officer (PPRO), confirmed the development and casualty figure to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Lafia, the state capital.
Mr Nansel said that preliminary investigation revealed that the pastoralists had on Tuesday, gone to Benue to pay fines for the release of cattle impounded by the Benue Livestock Guards implementing the State’s Anti-Open Grazing and Ranching Law.
He said: “While they were loading some of the cows into vehicles on Tuesday night in Kwatiri village, a border community between Benue and Nasarawa, something like a drone or an aircraft hovered in the air and shelled them.”
Mr Nansel said the Commissioner of Police, Maiyaki Mohammed-Baba, had visited the scene of the incident and also attended the burial of the deceased alongside the State Deputy Governor, Emmanuel Akabe, and some traditional rulers.
He said investigation was ongoing to unravel those behind the act, adding that the command had deployed policemen to the area to prevent the breakdown of law and order.
Governor Abdullahi Sule had since condemned the dastardly act, saying that he was in touch with his Benue counterpart over the matter as security agencies continued their investigations.
He called on the people to remain calm and not take laws into their own hands.
The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) had also condemned the alleged killing and called for full investigation to unravel those behind the attack.
MACBAN, in a statement made available to NAN by its National Public Relations Officer, Muhammad Nura, said “this is the third time we are experiencing such happenings.”
He said that apart from the victims, livestock were also killed in the attack.
“MACBAN describes the action as not only condemnable but a war crime under
the Geneva Convention that prohibits the wanton killing of livestock.
“We call on the authorities to investigate this terror, punish the culprits and to be sure that incidents like this will not happen again,” Mr Nura said.