The death toll of the Fulani community in an explosion in central Nigeria rises to 37


Around 37 members of the Fulani community were killed on Tuesday by a bomb explosion in an area between the Nigerian states of Nasarawa and Benue (centre), according to local authorities.

The governor of the state of Nasarawa, Abdullahi Sule, has specified that a total of 37 people died after the explosion in Kwatiri, according to the newspaper ‘Punch’. Hours earlier, the Nasarawa Police spokesman, Ramhan Nansel, had estimated the balance at 27 at the same time that he had stressed that the authorities are investigating to try to clarify what happened and arrest those responsible.

Likewise, Nansel has detailed that all the dead are Fulani herdsmen and has appealed to this community -also known as Peul- for calm. “I express my sympathies to the Fulani community on behalf of the state government for the death of their people at the hands of an unknown terrorist. I want to guarantee the commitment of the state authorities so that those responsible for this act face the full weight of the law “, has underlined.

However, Nansel has stressed hours later that the explosion could have been caused by an air strike. In this sense, he has affirmed that the herders had gone to Benue to pay fines to recover heads of cattle seized when the event took place, according to the Nigerian news agency NAN.

“While they were loading some cows into the vehicles in the village of Kwatiri, a border town between Benue and Nasarawa, something similar to a drone or a plane flew over the place and attacked them,” he said, without elaborating.

For his part, the spokesman for the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), Muhammad Nura, condemned what happened and stressed that “this is the third time something like this has happened.” MACBAN describes what happened not only as something reprehensible, but as a war crime under the Geneva Convention”, has settled.

Ahmed Sarki-Usman, president of the Doma general area -where Rukubi is located-, has warned that “the act could cause problems” and has pointed out that it was due to “activities of bad elements”. “I want to thank the Fulani for remaining calm and allowing the government and security agencies to manage the case. I guarantee that we will get to the bottom of the matter,” he added.

Nigeria has seen an uptick in intercommunal tensions in recent years due to disputes over land and resources, especially in the face of the impact of drought. Most of these clashes have been carried out by Fulani herdsmen, mostly Muslims, and farmers settled in the center of the country, mainly Christians.

The Fulani denounce their marginalization in Nigeria and other countries in the region, while other communities accuse them of being members of jihadist groups that operate in the area because they -including affiliates of Al Qaeda and the Islamic State- have taken advantage of the discontent of the Peul to swell their ranks. This has also led to complaints about abuses by the security forces against this community.

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Written by Editor TLN

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