Red berets of the Nigeria Police Anti Terrorism Squad and soldiers on Special Task Force duties in JOS

Red berets of the Nigeria Police Counter Terrorism Unit and soldiers on Special Task Force duty, escort vulnerable worshippers through a flashpoint area of Jos

June 28, 2013

Forty-eight people have been killed in violence in Langtang South Local Government Area of Plateau since it started on Thursday, the Special Task Force (STF) in the state said.

The STF spokesman, Capt. Salisu
Mustapha, told the News Agency of
Nigeria (NAN) in Jos on Friday that invading gunmen killed 28 persons
in Magama, Bongong and Karkashi
communities, while the STF killed 20 of them “in a gun duel that lasted several
hours’’. He said that many other assailants sustained gunshot wounds and were arrested by the STF. “Some motorcycles, weapons and ammunition were also recovered,’’ he added.

Mustapha said that the attackers were
suspected to be Fulani herdsmen and that they withdrew toward Yamini,Yelwa-Shendam and Agikamai villages in Shendam Local Government Area after
the attack. He, however, said the situation had been brought under control as more troops had been deployed to secure the area.

Mustapha said “STF personnel are
conducting a robust patrol to guard
against further attacks on innocent
persons.’’ He advised the people to go about their normal businesses and warned that securitymen would deal with anyone caught making trouble in the area. “Individuals or groups of persons that have made themselves the enemies of the people will be treated as such because we shall fish them out and deal with them,’’ he warned.

Meanwhile, the Chairman of Langtang
South Local Government, Mr Naanman
Darko, said that more than 6,000
displaced persons were taking refuge at
the local government headquarters in Mabudi. “In fact, more people are still trooping into the secretariat following rumours that more attacks are underway,’’ he said. Darko said nine injured persons were being treated at Langtang South General Hospital.

“The local government has been making
arrangements to provide relief materials to the displaced persons. “We have also reached out to the State
Emergency Management Agency and had
been assured that assistance is already
underway,’’ he added.


About beegeagle

BEEG EAGLE -perspectives of an opinionated Nigerian male with a keen interest in Geopolitics, Defence and Strategic Studies
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  1. ifiok umoeka says:

    The question is what is the connection between this ‘gunmen’ and those that where ‘dislodged’ from the area? Why we play politics, people get angry and resentment is built up as impunity reigns, soon it becomes a tit for tat, then another state of emergency, then another committee of inquiry, then… Don’t we get tired of this.

  2. ifiok umoeka says:

    Why can’t we have a comprehensive plan to deal with this issue? By the way, no group has the right to go about heavily armed and killing and maiming people with impunity? If not anything, get this fulani groups under surveillance at all times with a proper early warning system and rapid response teams with 2 or more Mil mi 17s to help insert teams in this mountainous region.

    • eyimola says:

      The Fed Govt (indeed all Governments in the Sub region) need to establish grazing rights for the Fulani within clearly demarcated geographic areas and restricted to certain times of the year. There are 100 million plus Fulani’s in West Africa and some of this groups have ancestral grazing areas that predate Islam in the region.

      This however does not address the peculiarities of the Plateau situation which has been aggravated by the fact that nobody seems to ever be brought to justice. The article itself seems to suggest threat the STF know:

      a) The Perps

      b) Their Motive


      c) Their location

      Yet no immediate operation appears to have been launched to neutralise or eliminate this individuals. They will disperse to reassemble another day.

  3. ifiok umoeka says:

    100mn? What is the combine population of west africa? I doubt that. On pre-colonial grazing right, it didn’t include plateau state and sure doesn’t include the last village in Akwa Ibom state where they are visibly going about their ‘grazing’. This is 2013, perhaps we should start looking at ranching!

  4. freeegulf says:

    fulanis 100million? in this sparse west africa?
    without trying to play politics of numbers, i don’t think they re that much in the whole of west africa.
    you re right about the need for a proper long term solution for cattle grazing. the rights of farmers and cattle herdsmen need to be protected, and non should be acting with impunity and as marauders. population falsification need to stop in this country.

  5. beegeagle says:

    Oga Eyimola, if they are too numerous – max 30 million from Senegal through Nigeria and on to Sudan/Eritrea – never mind West Africa. Hausa and Yoruba, transnational entities, each more numerous and we are 300 million in West Africa.

    The point however is this. Growing up in Bendel State, the first sign of the onset of the harmattan season was the arrival of Fulani herdsmen with their cattle and egrets in tow. They were innocuous and threatened nobody and as such, nobody needed to carve up grazing reserves for them. Back then, they only carried bows and arrows and daggers. These episodes of clashes and wholesale killings were practically unheard of. Certainly, it did not matter where they believed ‘ancestral’ grazing lands and watering holes to be situated. They also did not arrive in Nigeria before the people who created the oldest civilisation in West Africa – the Nok culture.

    Since the 2000s when they began to acquire AK47s, they have become a defacto national militia, unwilling to reason with anybody even in faraway lands, allowing cattle to graze on peoples’ farms. When the victims complain, herdsmen return at night to wipe out the entire community who are invariably not armed with AK47s.

    The story has been the same – from Niger State to Delta State, Ogun State to Nasarawa State, Benue-Plateau, Oyo, Kogi…everywhere. Herdsmen have been robbing people along highways too.

    One has said previously that the looming national crisis would be triggered off by the antics and blood feuds of herdsmen. They need to be disarmed so that a return to the old days of sobriety shall suffice.

    Whereas the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association have sometimes mentioned cattle rustling as casus belli, it is clear NATIONWIDE that most of these conflicts stem from cattle grazing on farmlands. That is the story – Katsina to Adamawa, Zamfara to Benue, Nasarawa to Ogun, Plateau to Oyo, southern Kaduna to Delta. Even in the FCT, herdsmen clashed with Gwari farmers this year. group?

    Something has to be wrong when christians and muslims, northerners and southerners are all complaining about herdsmen destroying farmlands across Nigeria.

    As we write, over 10,000 Fulanis have reportedly fled Zamfara State after gunmen laid ambush on a Fulani settlement and killed about 50 people last week. The perpetrators made it clear that it was a revenge mission.

    Violence does beget violence. DISARM them I say. Things were not always this way. The stepped-up belligerence has coincided with having access to rifles.



    What is going on here then? Is it possible that ALL Nigerians have ganged up against the herdsmen? I doubt that. I think that they have become more arrogant ever since they began to gain access to automatic rifles. It is the possession of illegal ARMS rather than grazing rights which lies at the core of the problem. They would be less inclined towards village invasions and brazenly taking the law into their hands when we return to the old days when they owned no AK47 rifles

    • eyimola says:

      I am not suggesting that the Fulani’s are blameless in this issue, however I am aware of the fact that the entire sub region has no workable system which guarantees their way of life as well as accommodate the requirements of the local communities. I don’t want to sound al green about this issue, but I feel that pastoralists are part of the West African way of life, and conflict, can be mitigated in some case or avoided all together if legislation was in place that allowed them to roam within clearly enforced areas at certain times of the year. There are all sorts of colonial area by laws in place in the North, but clearly this are unenforced. I am not defending the 100 million number. I got it from a source that cannot be considered unbiased.

      • igbi says:

        Yes that number is the biggest lie ever. Fulanis are a minority in every country in which they are. And in Nigeria and the west African region they are a verry little minority.The fulani herdsmen were probably given ak47 rifles by the same politicians who keep protecting each time they kill people. I do not think their way of life should be protected since a big part of it seems to be performing génocides. No at this period of time there is no place for herdsmen and certainly not for murderous ones. I say, forbid their way of life and disarm them, that is the best way to bring back sanity.

    • eyimola says:

      As you rcall, The fact that so many non state actors in the Country have access to relatively sophisticated weaponry is something that I have consistently talked about, this is something that the police (not the army) should be doing something about. However, if the herdsmen don’t have guns they will use bows and arrows. Unless they are not the same Fulani’s I know.

      • igbi says:

        Well if their culture is that of killing sprees then I think the rest of the society should look at them with suspicion. they shall be outcassed as long as they remain a murderous gang of illitrates. Land owners shall not let them rent or buy flats or houses outside fulani land (which by the way is no where in Nigeria). If they want a fight against the rest of the society then they will have themselves to blame for the conséquences.
        Fulanis herdsmen are not above the law.

      • igbi says:

        I meant “outcasts”.

  6. beegeagle says:

    Okay, Nigeria needs to snap out of lethargy and get on with it though. The saddest part of it is that so many Nigerians now view the herdsmen with an absolute sense of cynicism and indifference over their complicity in absolute carnage.

    That raises the question – where would these grazing reserves be located? Nobody would want a permanent grazing reserve in his area. Not even the Senate President. That is how bad the breach of trust has become.

    Seriously, we need to get the arms off the herdsmen. They were not like this when they were only going about with bows and arrows and they CANNOT carry out acts of vicious brigandage on this scale without rifles. Trust me, that is the difference between yesterday and today in this matter.

  7. doziex says:

    Yeah, Gentlemen, I ‘ll continue to belabor this point. And I know some bloggers will continue to object, just because I am the one highlighting these issues.

    So, just pretend I am someone else for a second.

    NA special forces, SBS, air force regiment, our police commando units, 72 para battalion etc.

    need to perfect this heliborne scouting/ search and destroy capability.

    First, president GEJ needs to buy the daggone helicopters already. The Indians just picked up over 200 different Mi-17 variants.

    Nigeria can more than afford these choppers.

    Secondly, we should have a pilot training program second to none in Africa.

    Thirdly, with the pilots, helicopters and mechanics in place, then our special forces can realistically train in and perfect the latest in air mobile maneuvers and tactics.

    We need this capability to deny these murderous thugs of their sanctuary.

    The picture in this thread says it all. look at the men of our JTF and some civillians hiking up these hills with generators. Talk about not having the tools for the job.

    Our SBS units as great as they train need this capability to execute effectively. The forested hills of jos, the desert expanses of bornu and the mangrove swamps of the niger delta would defeat any commando unit on this earth, if they do not come with the logistics to overcome these natural barriers.

    After that, the insurgents would become easy prey, as their hideouts become easily accessible as the swamp gets drained.

  8. Solorex says:

    Gentlemen, the solution to this issue is not trying to build capacity to kill as much dangerously harmed Fulani’s as quick as possible. There will be political interpretations and sentiment, if this is done that could spiral out into another all out conflict similar to this Boko-haram stuff with even serious ethnic dimensions, don’t forget that there are rich politicians that will pounce on any possible opportunity to cause problem for the perceived opposition no matter how many lives it costs.
    There are two permanent solutions that is guaranteed to work, but it requires patience

    (1) Education – Ensure by law and implement with all ruthlessness (arrests, government intimidation, confiscation of cows-any means possible- this worked in old Chile) that at least every kid under 15 years old must have had 6 years of continuous primary education. Nomadic education is poorly implemented and implemented with too much sentiment; it has been a conduit for wasting FG money. Then turn the schools to government indoctrination centers (like it’s done in the former Soviet Union and China of today). There you can shape the mindset of upcoming generations to be less violent and more attuned to modern means of lively hood.

    (2) Commerce and technology- I am sure that there are no more cows and horses in Northern Nigeria than they are in Brazil/Argentina/Australia, yet this issues( clashes with land owners) is nearly not existent today, there are skirmishes and cattle rustling issues(in Argentina in mid 30s-70s) but nothing like a millionth of what we have here. The Golden solution here is viable commerce-services for Money/land for rent. Local governments are glad to have their lands designated as grazing sites, because Government arrangement actually pay for it through beef taxes (and pass the cost onto consumers). 65,000 acres alongside the Paraná River in Argentina is reserved for 20,000 cows to graze without being bothered by humans; owned by a consortium of private farmers! Indigenes/cattle owners/regular farmers/government even the cattle love it!

    Local governments and private companies should also invest in feedlots and ranching to minimize migration. Once a cattle as reached a particular weight grazing on natural grass, it could be taken to a feedlot where you can actually buy good quality fast growth food/animal healthcare for the cattle say on daily basis or sell out rightly to the owners and they will take care of it till maturity.

    Each local government in certain areas should have ranches with all year round water supply, feed markets (facility should be provided for small guys to encourage them). We go to barren lands and build universities for 20,000 students with no fuss. Fulani herdsmen are not dumb, they won’t trek all the way from Sokoto to Akwa Ibom if all they need to water, feed, grow and sell healthy cattle are just there in Sokoto.

    It will take good investment, patience, dedication and good management, but you can solve this problem permanently in 8 years without a bullet!

    By the way, I am not a Fulani!

    In the interim, simple prosecution, confiscation of livestock and execution of murderous herdsmen to serve as deterrence to orders would do. Hundreds have been caught, how many have we heard convicted or executed?

  9. beegeagle says:

    🙂 I am aware that you are no herdsman, Solorex.

    Yes, they have to enforce the laws to the letter. Look at what happened in Benue at Agatu. They arrived at the scene of a funeral in the knowledge that hordes of people would be gathered there and opened fire indiscriminately. That is high-end premeditated murder for which the culprits should be executed upside down. Such acts of impunity must not go unpunished.

    About a week later, it was ONLY the swift arrival of a mobile patrol team of soldiers out on CTCOIN which saved another community in southern Kaduna from a wholesale and premature dispatch to the great beyond.

    You know how Sundays have become a ‘security event’ in the North on account of church attacks by terrorists.Apparently, it was a mobile army patrol team going between villages and standing by to come to the aid of civil defenders, policemen and church securitymen, which arrived just in time to prevent another bloodbath. The herdsmen were closing in on the church with rifles poised to attack at the time – in broad daylight. The soldiers saw them and opened fire. The herdsmen fled and that saved the day.

    Imagine having an entire congregation, including innocents and kids shot up over cow matters…to prove whatever point? The life of a human being and that of a cow have now been placed on an equal footing in the valuation of herdsmen? Come on, gentlemen, this is straight-up intolerable. It is happening nationwide now and cannot continue unchecked.

    Since the herdsmen fled in Kaduna, Langtang and in Wase when troops appeared and engaged them, some of the people in these victimised host communities might also start to think of arming up with automatic rifles to deter further attacks. Does that make sense?No.

    But I tell you, it would make the victims less vulnerable since they can at least return consequential fire and perhaps, beat back the attack. And gues what? At this rate, that is what is likely to happen unless state actors step in and mop up these arms.

    Do not forget that mercenaries from Niger, Cameroon and Chad have often been brought into country to facilitate these orgies of killing…the imperatives of tightened border controls, resurface. We must tighten up our flanks. We have very strong laws against the illegal possession of firearms.

    Let us have a 3-month grace period for people to hand in all military-grade weapons – AK47 and G3 rifles alike. For a quirky incentive, pay a flat rate of 300 dollars for each surrendered weapon. After that moratorium expires, crack down on any and all defaulters

  10. ifiok umoeka says:

    Solorex gr8t reasoning, however, all other regions and groups have their own issues yet no one is ibibio or anang men are not in sokoto killing people! I have asked this question b4 and got no answer. There are core fulani/hausa states,WHAT ARE THE NORTHERN GOVS DOING? Why can’t they build these reserved areas in their states and employ irrigation. There is large scale farming in Kano for crying out loud!
    See since you guys don’t want to say it,let me. This impunity has continued because the Nigerian security institution protects, aids and abate these guys while BBC hausa service and NAN et al furnishes them with info. Well, as we fail to curb the proliferation of small arms, others too will get arms. I hope the fulanis can fight the rest of Nigeria combine.

  11. Solorex says:

    I quite agree, but there is a difference between herdsmen fighting for grazing rights for their cattle and all out terrorist. The solution proposed is for the first category;as for the terrorists they need to be beaten back with big stick, rapid response squads and 30minutes air support to any location.

    With that siad, their is an issue with the Fulani herdsmen in Nigeria as an whole, the fact that they live a nomadic life ( roving all over the place) means that most of the youths are illiterate; this roving nature also means that they believe they are always on the move and would not have to answer to all actions ( the “i can escape” syndrome), because they travel through the forest, they also believe in the necessity of carrying arms to defend their cattle and them selves(an also attack when deemed necessary). This illiterate, fierce and nonchalant ( by regular standard) nature of Fulani youths also predisposes them to easy terror centered religious indoctrination and they are also available for hire to foment violent trouble.

    The federal/state government must take time to address and restructure this nature, if they want want an all out action against Fulani one day.

  12. beegeagle says:

    Yeah, great thesis by Solorex. The only thing wrong point there is the assumed PREMISE. The symptom is merely farmer-herdsmen clashes but the root cause remains the availability of arms to the herdsmen who have now become laws unto themselves.

    There were always water and pasture concerns in the Far North from the time when I was aged six and saw herdsmen for the first time. The reason why they used to migrate with their herds down south ab initio, and we were even taught this in Social Studies, was the dearth of pasture and water during the harmattan in their own corner of Nigeria.

    It is not peculiar to Nigeria and indeed happens simulataneously in Chad and in Sudan as well – reason why the fierce Ngok Dinka-Misseriya Arab clashes in Abyei.

    The escalatory effect observed in Nigeria has only been brought on by the possession of automatic rifles and a nihilistic resolve to WIPE OUT the owners of the coveted resource. That is why the pattern of massacres documented nationwide has been the same, ever since the start of the Janaury 2010 killings on the Jos Plateau where, in some cases, entire populations in villages with 300+ persons got killed in overnight raids.

  13. beegeagle says:

    Bear in mind also, Solorex, that whereas the Jos Conflict kicked off as a very intense case of savage inter-ethnic warfare between the Fulani herdsmen on one hand and the Anaguta/Afizere/Birom farmers on the other, Boko Haram soon came in to exploit the situation citing the false cause – in a bid to gain cheap popularity – that they were fighting for the rights of oppressed muslims.

    At Xmas 2010, three months after the Bauchi jailbreak which signalled the commencement of the BH insurgency as distinct from the 2009 Uprising which was put down, Boko Haram detonated a device near the ever-busy Gada Biu/Polo Park/Rukuba Junction axis which is dominated by non Hausa-Fulani folk. That killed 73 persons and was actually the first major bomb attack by BH. Until last year, they continued to detonate devices at open air bars(West of Mines), soccer viewing centres and to launch suicide attacks on churches

    Thus the Jos Conflict fringes both on inter-ethnic violence and insurgency-driven terrorism. This is the true situation as the details and history of attacks present themselves.

  14. ifiok umoeka says:

    I say that the lack of political will to hold accountable these guys are major reason why it still continues. The atrocities bred resentment reached boiling point in 2003/4 with retaliation in Yelwa and since then, Jos has known no peace. Well, I hope that this will not be replicated in other places as people get angrier. We are sitting on a ticking bomb.

  15. ifiok umoeka says:

    moreover, no one is even pretending to address deforestation and desertification! In any case, no one has the right to come destroy my farm because he is ‘preserving his way of life’ . What about my own way of life? Arms or no arms, take away this institutional protection from them and this problem will solve itself albeit with heavy bloodshed and wanton destruction. But why must it be that way? But if this continues unabated, just give it time…

  16. igbi says:

    Do not protect fulani herdsmen “way of life”. Their way of life is to kill people where ever they go. They are pure savages. We should rather stop their way of life and disarm them. They have to adapt to their environment, not the other way around.

  17. beegeagle says:

    Thanks, gentlemen. Anyone who would buy prohibited military-grade weapons is almost certainly a dangerous person and should be viewed with suspicion. Some could be sociopaths and paranoid schizophrenics, most of the others could be insurgents, potential killers and armed robbers.

    So let nobody be deceived. A man who without being a member of the military, security or intelligence services, feels the need to retain an AK47 rifle, has to be viewed for what he is – a dangerous fellow.

    There comes a time when a nation must do away with outmoded practices. We only need to review this practice of having people roaming around with cattle. How many people have been killed in automobile accidents by cows crossing a road anyway?

    As we speak and even as it seems that “al-Majiri” culture and begging for alms cannot be done away with, many northern states are beginning to ban the practice. Jigawa State are leading the way on that.

  18. ifiok umoeka says:

    I was taught that culture is dynamic and organic, it grows. They are not the 1st nor will the be the last nomads. I have no issue with how people choose to live their lives only don’t destroy my property or kill my family else I’ll come after you with all I have.

  19. eyimola says:

    Well clearly my Idea was not as outlandish as some here are suggesting.

    The Nigerian and Nigerien Governments have just announced a plan to legally demarcate routes for movements of cattle. My understanding is that in time this agreement will include Chad.

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