Air Force accidental bombing kills scores, herders demand apology
The Coalition of Pastoralists Association has said the number of its members killed during the accidental airstrikes by the Nigerian Air Force in Nasarawa has risen to 47, while no fewer than 62 members sustained various degrees of injuries.
The association which is an umbrella organization of pastoralists’ groups in Nigeria also accused the military of carrying out similar airstrikes on armless herders in Keana and Awe in Doma local government area of Nasarawa State, adding that soldiers last year killed their members in Kaduna.
Addressing journalists on Tuesday in Abuja on behalf of the Coalition, the National President of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, Baba Ngelzarma; Vice President, Tabbital Pulaaku International Nigeria Chapter, Auwal Googa; Secretary, of Farmers and Hunters Initiative for Peace and Development, Musa Usman among others slammed the military, federal, and Benue State governments for their failure to commiserate with the family of the deceased a week after the ill-fated incident.
They said, “Apart from the most recent bombardment of Tuesday, January 24, 2023, in Akwanaja, there were similar airstrikes on innocent herders in Keana and Awe In Doma LGAs of Nasarawa State.
“The recent airstrikes at Akwanaja village of Rukubi Ward, Doma LGA of Nasarawa have killed at least 32 Fulani herders, 15 Hausa drivers, and truck boys while offloading cattle.
Another 62 sustained various degrees of injuries, some life-threatening. Before the incident, the Benue State Livestock Guards had raided and confiscated 1,254 cows at Rukubi, Nasarawa-Benue border communities in Doma LGA of the state.
“The guards insisted that the herders should pay hefty penalties running to millions of naira. A negotiated ransom of N27,000,000 was agreed between the Fulani owners of the confiscated cattle and the Benue State government.
The herders obtained a loan from commercial banks. Apart from this, on December 3, 2022, soldiers killed innocent pastoralists in Rugan Waziri, at Rafin Sarkin Fatika village.
“One week after the tragedy neither the Federal Government, military nor the Benue State government deemed it appropriate to even offer a word of explanation or consolation.
We, on behalf of the victims of these bombardments, demand the immediate admittance of responsibility by the Nigerian military, unreserved apology, and condolences to the families of the deceased pastoralists.”