Residents of Plateau State and the Miyyeti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria are currently in a war of words after gunmen carried out a midnight raid on Te’egbe community in the Bassa Local Government Area of the state in which no fewer than 11 persons were murdered.
According to Tribune, the incident happened at about 1am when the invaders unleashed terror on the inhabitants, killing and burning houses at random.
The police confirmed that 10 persons were killed and 30 houses burnt in the attack.
Reacting to the incident, the Irigwe Development Association described the latest attack as part of a grand plot by herdsmen to push the Irigwe people out of their ancestral land.
He lamented that attacks on the Irigwe people had continued unabated.
But the state chapter of MACBAN said the allegation against its members concerning the latest killings at Te’egbe was a mere expression of hatred towards the herders.
The National President of the Irigwe Development Association, Prince Robert Arshi, said the latest attack on the Irigwe was a surprise, given recent peace and reconciliation meetings between the locals and the Fulani community.
“The motive of these attackers is not far from the fact that they want to push us out and claim our lands for grazing. Our neighbouring villages to Kaduna have been displaced and our people have since relocated.
“Just two weeks ago, they killed two people in Anchan village. While still mourning these people, they invaded Te’egbe community on Friday and killed another eleven, injured four others injured and burned many houses despite the series of reconciliation meeting to make us live in peace,” he said.
He called on security agencies to arrest the perpetrators of the dastardly act. However, the state chapter of MACBAN condemned the allegation that herdsmen were behind the Friday attack on Te’egbe.
The association, in a statement by its state chairman, Malam Muhammad Nuru Abdullahi, said the allegation was nothing but mere indication of hatred for herders.
“We are saying that the allegation is false. The Irigwe people should have allowed the security agencies to fish out the perpetrators of the attack before jumping to conclusions based on perceptions,” it said.
Bassa Local Government Area, especially the Irigwe axis, for some time now, has been experiencing loss of lives and destruction of houses and farmlands as a result due to constant attacks by gunmen.