How state officials ‘misled’ military airstrike on innocent Herders in Nasarawa
By Baba Aminu
More details have emerged on the cause of the reported aerial attack that killed some cattle rearers in the Kwatiri community of Doma Local Government Area of Nasarawa State.
PRNigeria gathered from a reliable source that the airstrike was ordered after the Military High Command received credible intelligence that some terrorists moved into some communities around the boundary between Nasarawa and Benue states.
A joint operation involving the military, security and intelligence components was then mobilized to go and take out the terrorists only for a particular state government official (name withheld) to give the team a wrong location, leading to the bombing of the innocent herdsmen.
An intelligence source, who craved anonymity told PRNigeria, that the incident was connected with an ongoing military operation ordered by the Defence Headquarters, following increasing killings, kidnappings and terrorism by the criminal elements running away from troops’ onslaught in the North East and North Western parts of the country.
“The herders were killed while returning from Makurdi, the Benue State capital, where they went to retrieve over 1,000 cows seized by the Benue Livestock Guards,” he said.
The intelligence source added that it was the domestic intelligence operatives in the state, who quickly alerted the military to halt the operation, saying it was taken place at the wrong location.
Recalled that a joint military operation covering Benue, Nasarawa and Taraba states, codenamed ‘Operation Whirl Stroke’, OPWS, targeted at clearing bandits and killer herders in forests and communities located in the states, has been ongoing in the last three years.
Meanwhile, the Nasarawa Police Command has confirmed the incident, saying pastoralists were killed during the ‘airstrike’ in Doma Local Government Area of the State.
DSP Ramhan Nansel, the Command’s Public Relations Officer (PPRO), 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.
Gov. Abdullahi Sule had since condemned the 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 hands.
PRNigeria gathered that the Commissioner of Police in Nasarawa, CP Maiyaki Mohammed-Baba, and the State Deputy Governor, Dr Emmanuel Akabe, and some traditional rulers had visited the scene of the incident and attended the burial of the deceased.