Why we struck in Agatu — Fulani herdsmen

By: 
Emmanuel Mayah, Sani Tukur and Hassan Adebayo
Date: 
19 Mar 2016

A leader of the Fulani ethnic group has provided a detailed insight into why his people attacked the Agatu people of Benue, sacking several communities and killing hundreds.

In an exclusive interview with PREMIUM TIMES, Saleh Bayeri, the Interim National Secretary of Gan Allah Fulani Association, rose in defence of his kinsmen, saying the February bloody conflict in Benue was a reprisal attack by his people against the Agatus who he accused of killing, in 2013, a prominent Fulani man.

Gan Allah Fulani Association is an umbrella body of Fulani associations in Nigeria.

Mr. Bayeri said the killing of the man reverberated amongst every Fulani in West Africa.

He insisted that the Agatu farmers were aggressors shedding crocodile tears, and wondered why former Senate President, David Mark, was only just realising the meaning of genocide.

Mr. Mark, a one-time military governor of Niger State, was last week Friday attacked by suspected Fulani herdsmen who ambushed his convoy in Agatu where he had gone for an on-the-spot assessment of losses of lives and properties.

In February, 10 Agatu communities were razed and hundreds, including women, children and the elderly, were reportedly massacred by suspected Fulani herdsmen.

Mr. Mark, who represents the area in the Senate, had described the killings as genocide.

Although the Nigerian Senate last Wednesday blamed Boko Haram insurgents for the mass killings in Agatu, Mr. Bayeri said the attacks were orchestrated by Fulani herdsmen in revenge of the killing of one of their leaders by Agatu people three years ago.

The Fulani leader said about 20 Agatu and Tiv militia, on April 20, 2013, invaded the compound of one Shehu Abdullahi, killing him and carting away over 200 cows.

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