The Nasarawa State Police Command has verified that an airstrike in the state’s Doma Local Government Area resulted in the deaths of 27 pastoralists.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) received confirmation of the casualty and development numbers from DSP Ramhan Nansel, the Command’s Public Relations Officer (PPRO), on Thursday in Lafia.
According to Nansel’s preliminary inquiry, the pastoralists had traveled to Benue on Tuesday to pay fines for the release of animals that had been seized by the Benue Livestock Guards as part of their enforcement of the state’s anti-open grazing and ranching law.
On Tuesday night in Kwatiri village, a border settlement between Benue and Nasarawa, “something like a drone or an airplane hovered in the air and shelled them while they were putting some of the cows into trucks.”
Nansel said that the State’s Deputy Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Akabe, and a few traditional leaders, in addition to the Commissioner of Police, Maiyaki Mohammed-Baba, had visited the scene of the tragedy and attended the funeral of the deceased.
He added that the command had sent out cops to avoid the breakdown of law and order and that an inquiry was ongoing to identify those responsibly.
Since then, Governor Abdullahi Sule has denounced the heinous conduct and stated that he is in contact with his Benue counterpart about the incident as the security services continue their investigations.
He urged the populace to maintain their composure and refrain from enforcing their own laws.
In addition to denouncing the alleged death, the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) demanded a thorough inquiry to identify those responsibly.
The National Public Relations Officer for MACBAN, Muhammad Nura, provided a statement to NAN that read, “This is the third time we are experiencing such incidents.”
In addition to the casualties, he said that cattle were also slain in the attack.
“According to MACBAN, the deed constitutes a war crime under the Geneva Convention, which forbids the wanton slaughter of livestock.
“We demand that the government look into this act of terror, prosecute the perpetrators, and ensure that something like this won’t happen again,”
said the Nura.