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Bodies of 11 Fulani arrested by soldiers found in Kaduna forest

Eleven decomposing corpses of Fulani from Tulde Fulbe, Ladduga Grazing Reserve in Kachia Local Government Area of Kaduna State, were on Monday discovered in a…

Eleven decomposing corpses of Fulani from Tulde Fulbe, Ladduga Grazing Reserve in Kachia Local Government Area of Kaduna State, were on Monday discovered in a forest located near an area called “Crossing” within the local government area. 

The bodies, Daily Trust gathered, were identified by relatives and community members as those of the Fulani allegedly arrested by soldiers in the area at different times. 

Relatives and other members of the community, who could not hold back tears, took the pains of putting their loved ones in sacks after driving for over 30 minutes to get to the location where the bodies were allegedly dumped because they were decomposing.

The victims, namely Safiyanu Adamu, Abdulkadir Idris, Akilu Abdullahi, Ibrahim Abubakar, Magaji Umar, Said Saleh, Abdulaziz Yusuf, Ibrahim Sani, Musa Dan Asabe, Nura Yusuf and Nuru Magaji were said to have been arrested by soldiers.

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But when contacted, the Army Headquarters in Abuja referred one of our reporters to the 1st Division of the Nigerian Army in Kaduna.

When contacted the army officials in Kaduna said they don’t kill suspects in their custody.

‘They intercepted us while taking my son to hospital’ 

Adamu Idris, who is the father of one of the victims, Safiyanu Adamu, alleged that he was taking his son to a hospital after being involved in an accident when he was arrested by the soldiers. 

He narrated: “My son had an accident on a motorcycle on his way back from Maulud celebration. I was at home when the news came to me. I was taking my son who was bleeding from his mouth to a hospital when the soldiers stopped us, took him and told us they were taking him to Abuja. They accused my son of being a thief, an accusation, which I denied. Before they left, they (soldiers) collected the N18,000 cash I was holding to pay my son’s hospital bills. 

“A week after his arrest, I was informed that his corpse had been found. I want justice for my son and all the other victims. The soldiers in the area are taking advantage of us, the Fulani. The government should wade in and bring the earring soldiers to face the wrath of the law”, said Malam Adamu. 

Another member of the community, Ayuba Muhammad, accused soldiers of raiding their homes and taking their property. 

 He called on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Governor Uba Sani to come to their aid and end “the injustice being meted on Fulani in Ladduga.” 

He said: “On the 28th of December, 2023, soldiers came into the community before a place called “Crossing” and killed three of our people. We do not know what their offence was, but we know them to be good people because even if we go to the police station here in Ladduga, you will find out that they have no records. 

“We called the police to see the corpses, they made their report and gave us permission to bury the corpses. We thought it was over, but unfortunately, it was not. So far, 11 people have been killed. They were arrested by soldiers and their corpses were found near the Navy Barracks in the area. 

“On the 30th of December, 2023, soldiers came to the “Crossing” market, they arrested some people and shot at Nuhu Yusuf in broad daylight. After that, they entered the village, took more people and raided some houses and took N30,000 from one of the houses. In another house, they went away with a bag of ginger, which was being dried. After that, they again came into our community in the night, raided some houses and went away with motorcycles and ginger. 

“We do not know our crime. We are law abiding citizens here in Ladduga, and we do not harbour criminals. We have continuously supported the security agencies in a bid to have peace in our community”, said Malam Ayuba. 

 Also, Suleiman Abdullahi, a relation of Nuru Magaji, one of the victims, narrated: “Last Saturday, we were taking tea early in the morning at the tea seller’s shop in the community when soldiers came asking how much was the cost of sugarcane. We told them that the sugarcane seller was partially deaf and so they had to come closer and speak louder. 

“As we were drinking our tea, the soldiers called my relation, Nuru Magaji and took him to the front of their vehicle and they asked him what was this. I did not really hear what they were saying, but the next thing I heard them say was ‘enter the car’. There was another man selling grains called Nura; the soldiers pulled him towards their vehicle and shot him. That was how we all ran for safety. That’s all I saw, and the next thing, their corpses were found. We want to call on the government to address this issue of intimidation and injustice by soldiers.” 

However, Abubakar Muhammad, a relation of Akilu Abdullahi, said the victim went to the market and was arrested by soldiers. 

“We did not hear from them since the arrest until their corpses were found,” he said. 

He also corroborated the allegation that the soldiers stole ginger, motorcycles, cash and other valuables from members of the community. 

He wondered what had changed in the atmosphere under which they have been living in that community, saying: “We have been living peacefully in this community since the days of our grandparents up till date.” 

The Village Head of Tilde Fulbe, Ladduga Grazing Reserve, Muhammad Yusuf, accused the soldiers of arresting and killing innocent Fulani without proper investigation.

He called for proper investigation into the matter.

We’re looking into the matter – Kaduna govt 

When contacted, the Overseeing Commissioner, Ministry of Internal Security and Home Affairs, Kaduna State, Samuel Aruwan, confirmed receipt of a complaint by the Fulani leaders.

“We have received their complaint and we will look into it. Our doors are open and we will investigate. While we appeal for calm, we will look at the possibility of engaging them to understand what truly happened,” the commissioner assured.

We don’t kill suspects in our custody

One of our correspondents approached the spokesman for the Nigerian Army, Maj. Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu, for comment, but he said One Division in Kaduna would avail Daily Trust with necessary reactions.

The Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, 1 Division Headquarters Kaduna, Lieutenant Colonel Musa Yahaya confirmed that troops of Operation Whirl Punch picked up a suspected bandit. He, however, said the suspect in their custody is alive and aiding investigation that will lead to the capture of one other suspect at large. 

He said, “The Commanding Officer of Operation Whirl Punch has confirmed that troops picked up a suspected bandit near crossing in Kachia Local Government Area and recovered a weapon from him. He is currently in their custody and is aiding investigation. 

“Acting of credible intelligence, troops of the division stormed Tilden Fulani on 30 December 2023 during which one Mr Ibrahim was arrested as suspect for involvement in terrorist activities and insurgency. The suspect is currently in our custody and had confessed to be involved in insurgency. He has further volunteered information that will assist the troops in subsequent operation.   The troops did not molest anybody or killed anyone as alleged. 

“On 21 December 2023 along Maro-Katul Crossing in Kachia Local Government Area of Kaduna State, troops of 1 Division while responding to a kidnap incident neutralized three kidnappers. 

“The kidnap victim, one Mr Rabiu Ahmed was stabbed and dispossessed by the suspects who fled when troops approached. Items recovered from the kidnappers include two machetes, the motorcycle dispossessed from the victim and 2 x mobile phones recovered from them alongside the sum of N15, 000 which they also collected from the victim. The victim was taken to a military medical facility where he was treated and his motorcycle and other belongings where returned to him,” he said.