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Jos: How Fulani/farmers clash claimed 3

However, this enduring peace was shattered on Friday, June 5, when the neighbours clashed over alleged encroachment of farmlands of two women by the Fulani…

However, this enduring peace was shattered on Friday, June 5, when the neighbours clashed over alleged encroachment of farmlands of two women by the Fulani herdsmen who they said destroyed part of the farmlands.

The protest took another dimension the following day when the remains of 50-year-ol-old Esther said to be one of owners of the destroyed farm was discovered in farmland near a Fulani village.

It was alleged that the woman was stabbed to death by an unknown herdsman and that led to a protest by some youths in the villages.

During the protest, the youth attacked Fulani villages and three people were reportedly killed and over 30 houses set ablaze by the mob at Rantishaw, Gaworza, Sindare, Mongul, and Mil Bakwai.

A Fulani leader, Alhaji Saleh Abubakar said over 30 houses where destroyed and 500 people rendered homeless.

Narrating the incident in Rantishaw where the crises started, 60-year-old Joseph Agwom, the deceased’s husband told Weekly Trust that “On Thursday, June 4,  his wife left home in the evening  with her hoe to her farm. When she reached her farm, she found that cattle had encroached into the farm and destroyed her crops; the cattle were alone without their owner. Therefore, she waited patiently and trailed the cattle to the Fulani settlement.”

Mr Joseph said  when they realised that it was getting late, they organized a search team to go to the farm to look for her but she was no where to be found.

He said they continued the search the following day and later found her body in morning of Friday 11a.m. lying near her farm close to a Fulani settlement.

“It was suspected that she was murdered because we found her body covered with flies and a stick while her hoe was used to smash the back of her head. When we found that, we reported the matter to the police,” he said

Mr Yunusa Mongur, the councillor in the area said the Divisional Police Officer came with the chairman and ordered the arrest of the Fulani suspects. He assisted in evacuating the body.

A fulani elder, Ardo Julde accused the native of instigating the crisis, saying two of his people were killed in the rampage.

“The youth shouldn’t have taken the law into their hands. They should have allowed the police to carry out their investigations. The most surprising aspect of the whole thing was that the people attacked where not even staying close to the area where the body was found.

He accused the Police of taking side in the feud, alleging that most of those arrested were his people.

The Divisional Police Officer in charge of Bokkos Local Government Mr. Allwell Ben told Weekly Trust that “he received a report that a of woman’s corpse was found in a farmland and some youth were planning to take revenge.”

He quickly swung into action along with the Bokkos Local Government Chairman, Moses Dongo to prevent any breach of law and order.

He said the Police was trailing those who killed some Fulani herdsmen.

Dongo told Weekly Trust that the area is calm and the legislative arm of the local government would  set up an investigative committee to look into the matter with a view to prevent feature occurrence.

All the 23 arrested suspectswere paraded on Wednesday before the Upper Area Court Jos presided over by Chief Magistrate Mustapha Hassan, where they were charged with unlawful assembly and plan to incite public disturbance.

Hassan has granted bail to 18 of the 23 suspects and ordered the remaining five to be remanded in prison custody till July15 for further hearing.

However, Weekly Trust gathered that a group known as the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), Plateau State branch, has already petitioned the Inspector General of Police over alleged gross dereliction, favouritism, injustice and violation of their fundamental rights by the local police command.