by Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna
Conflicting reports have emerged about the circumstances surrounding the arrest of alleged bandits, in a viral video emanating from Kaduna State.
While the outcome of government investigative meeting uncovered that the arrested persons were herders ‘mistaken for bandits,’ the locals, who are not convinced about the outcome, still believe strongly that those arrested were bandits set out for a terror mission.
A government statement credited to the Nigeria Police is titled, “Arrested People In Viral Video Were Herders Mistaken For Bandits.”
It further stated that, “The military and police have clarified that the arrested people in a video, which went viral on social media at the weekend, were herders mistaken for bandits, who attacked Kakura community in Chikun local government area of Kaduna State.”
The security officials, who made the clarification during a peace meeting between the leadership of Gbagyi and Fulani communities of Kakura, said investigations have revealed that, the people seen in the video were members of the herders’ settlement mistaken for bandits that went to Kakura and were apprehended by the vigilante men.
“The meeting had in attendance the State Commissioner of Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, Chikun local government chairman, Engr. Salasi Musa, member representing Chikun Constituency in the State House of Assembly, Hon. Ayuba Chawaza, District Head of Kujama, Stephen Ibrahim, and the Commanding Officer, 312 Artillery Regiment, Lt-Col. D.O. Igwilo,” it stated.
Speaking at the meeting, which held at the Ministry of Internal Security and Home Affairs in Kaduna, the State Commissioner of Police, Yekini Ayoku, said “Both the Gbagyi and Fulani communities of Kakura were victims of the Saturday bandits’ attack.”
The CP said, “When we saw the video, we swung into action and called for an emergency meeting between the Gbagyi and Fulani communities of Kakura. And from our investigation, we discovered what happened was that, bandits attacked Kakura community and killed the younger brother of the village leader, Isiaku Karfe.
“The same bandits attacked a nearby Fulani settlement and within the same area, rustled their cattle. So, the vigilante of the Kakura community where the village head brother was killed went in search of the bandits that attacked them, while the Fulani also went in search of their rustled cattle.”
Ayoku added: “While in the forest, the two sides clashed. In the process, three of the Fulani were killed and a number of others were injured. The information got to the military detachment in the area and they went for rescue and they took the dead and the injured to the hospital. Presently, the injured are now being treated at 44 Nigerian Army Reference Hospital.
“So, these people taken to the hospital are not bandits, but rather, from the narrations of the both sides, it was discovered that, it was a case of ‘mistaken identity.’
“So, what we have done here is to bring the two communities together, then the local government chairman, House Assembly member, the District Head and Head of the Fulani community have been asked to go back and ensure peace among the communities.
Both the District Head of Kujama, Stephen Ibrahim, and Ardo (Head of Fulani Community) in Chikun local government area corroborated the Commissioner of Police’s submission and assured that, they will go back to the community level and work for peace of the area.
However, when our correspondent contacted some locals, the source (who spoke in confidence) explained that, “I am very surprised at the twist of the story. From the video shown, the alleged Fulani did not look like people sleeping or relaxing in their hurts. They looked fully kitted for a night outing.
“But, if government is serious that the arrested persons are peaceful local Fulani attacked by mistake, it is an extremely easy matter to confirm. Bring natives of Kakura and let the arrested Fulani identify local people in the community; and let the local people confirm that the Fulani are indeed local to the place and that they were not engaged in crime at the time they were arrested. Simple,” he stated.