The two Fulani boys were allegedly murdered in the presence of STF soldiers.
There was palpable tension in Barkin Ladi Local Government of Plateau State on Tuesday over the reported killing, on Monday, of two Fulani youth by attackers suspected to be from the Birom ethnic group.
A leader of the Fulani group in the state, Shehu Buba, informed PREMIUM TIMES over the telephone on Tuesday that the two young men – Awwalu Damina and Isma Musa – were killed in front of soldiers of the Special Task Force, STF, maintaining peace in the state.
Narrating what happened, Mr. Buba said a group of men from the Birom community, earlier on Monday had attacked two boys, who were herding cattle in Kassa Village, and killed one of them, while the other sustained serious injuries The attackers then took away over 120 cows to a village called Zarong, he said. Mr. Buba added that the boy who sustained the injuries was currently receiving treatment at the General Hospital, Barkin Ladi.
Murder in Military presence
Mr. Buba said that the Fulani community had reported the incident to some soldiers in the area, who quickly mobilised their colleagues. The soldiers then asked Messr Damina and Musa to follow them and give directions as to where they think the cows were taken to.
“The soldiers trooped into three Toyota Hilux vans and about fifteen of them were well armed,” Mr. Buba narrated. “As they were going, the military convoy was ambushed by a group of Birom youth and, right in front of the soldiers, the (Birom) brought these boys down and slaughtered them.”
Mr. Buba added that the Fulani community has already petitioned the Plateau State Commissioner of Police, Chris Olakpe, who issued a 24-hour ultimatum to the traditional ruler and local government chairman of Barkin Ladi and other community leaders to fish out the perpetrators of the heinous crime and return all the stolen cows.
The spokesperson of the Command, Felicia Anselm, who spoke to PREMIUM TMES over the phone confirmed the incident. She said, even before the expiration of the ultimatum, the Command had dispatched a large number of officers from the anti-terrorism squad to the area to maintain peace.
“We are hot on the trail of the perpetrators and I am sure they will be apprehended and brought to justice,” she said.
Meanwhile, efforts to reach the spokesperson of the STF, Salisu Mustafa, were unsuccessful as his line was unreachable. A naval officer named Juth, who deputises for Mr. Mustapha, declined comment saying he only addresses the media when Mr. Mustapha is out of town. He, however, promised to let him know we called.
The STF spokesperson was yet to return the call as at the time of publishing this story.
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