From Abel Leonard, Lafia and  Isaac Ukpoju

The Nasarawa  State Police Command has confirmed the alleged killing of 27 pastoralists in an airstrike in Doma Local Government Area of the State.

Nasarawa Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Ramhan Nansel,   confirmed the development and casualty figure yesterday to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)   in Lafia.

Nansel, said that preliminary investigation revealed that the pastoralists had on Tuesday, gone to Benue to pay fines for the release of cattle seized by the Benue Livestock Guards implementing the State’s Anti-Open Grazing and Ranching  Law.

He said: “While they were loading some of the cows into vehicles on Tuesday night in Kwatiri village, a border community between Benue and Nasarawa, something like a drone or an aircraft hovered in the air and shelled them.”

Nansel said  Commissioner of Police, Maiyaki Mohammed-Baba, had visited the scene of the incident, and attended the burial of the deceased alongside the State Deputy Governor, Dr Emmanuel Akabe, and some traditional rulers.

He said investigation was ongoing to unravel those behind the act, adding that the command had deployed policemen to the area to prevent  breakdown of law and order.

Governor  Abdullahi Sule had since condemned the dastardly act,  saying that he was in touch with his Benue counterpart over the matter as security agencies continued their investigations.

He called on the people to remain calm and not take laws into their own hands.

The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) had also condemned the alleged killing, and called for full investigation to unravel those behind the attack.

MACBAN, in a statement made available to NAN, by its National Public Relations Officer, Muhammad Nura, said “this is the third time we are experiencing such happenings.”

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He said that apart from the victims, livestock were also killed in the attack.

“MACBAN describes the action as not only condemnable, but a war crime under the Geneva Convention that prohibits the wanton killing of livestock.

“We call on the authorities to investigate this terror, punish the culprits, and to be sure that incidents like this will not happen again,” the Nura said

Meanwhile, Sule , has confirmed that some Fulani herdsmen and their cattle died in a  bomb blast .

He has  appealed for calm, saying that his  administration would resolve the unfolding security challenges in the area.

Sule,said since the unfortunate incident, his administration has been on top of the situation trying to restore peace  in the area.

“At one point, I was contemplating whether to move the meeting of today to another day, because of some security challenges which we had in Benue yesterday ,but then ,it crossed over  to our state. It had to do with some Fulani, that actually got to rescue their cows, and after rescuing their cows, there was a bomb blast at the area they gathered their cows,on their way to Nasarawa State.  

“As a result of that, I have been on it throughout last Tuesday night, trying to resolve the matter with the Chief of Defence Staff,  Miyetti Allah, Whirl Stroke, and all the other security agencies, including our Commissioner of Police. 

“Our Deputy Governor , CP and I  are on their way to Doma right now to ensure we continue to douse the tension that may be  generated as a result of the incident . We will work to ensure we maintain peace in that area”.

The chairman of  Doma  LGA and other leaders, yesterday , attended the funeral rites of  slain Fulani Leaders at the Muslim’s cemetery where about  27 Fulani leaders, who were killed in an airstrike  Wednesday,were laid to rest .

According to reports by Bugaiya, Muhammad M.I. Personal Adviser to the Executive Chairman on Information and Media Affairs,  four bodies were buried at Rukubi, two in Lafia. Others might have been missing during the airstrike.On  Wednesday, about 50 Fulani leaders ,were  slain along side their cattle during an  airstrike   between Benue/Nasarawa states borders.