Buhari President says more people killed in Zamfara than Benue, Taraba combined

The president said the killings in Benue and Taraba don't have religious and ethnic undertones.

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Buhari says more people killed in Zamfara than Benue, Taraba combined play

President Muhammadu Buhari

(AFP)
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President Muhammadu Buhari has cautioned against the politicising of attacks in Benue and Taraba, noting that more people have been killed in attacks that happened in Zamfara which have not been politicised as much.

There has been a rise in the spate of killings happening in the Middle Belt area, especially in Benue and Taraba, and Fulani herdsmen have been largely blamed for a large portion of it. Many comments from the public and top personalities across the country have attributed the killings to a religious and ethnic conflict.

According to President Buhari, these attributions are merely fictitious constructs that don't paint the real truth of the situation.

While speaking during an interview with Voice of America, Hausa service, in Washington, United States on Tuesday, May 1, 2018, the president said the fact that Zamfara has witnessed more killings than in Benue and Taraba combined proves that the attributions are merely mischievous.

He said, "Those making these allegations against the herdsmen know that herdsmen, as we know them only carry sticks, going about with guns is a new thing and those making the allegations know that conflict between farmers and herders has a long history even before we were born.

"Therefore, it is wrong to say the conflict is between Fulani and Tiv or other tribes, like in Taraba. What of Zamfara, where more people were killed than in Taraba and Benue put together?

"People need to understand that it is mischief that makes people to bring in religion or ethnicity."

Buhari says herdsmen don't carry guns

While meeting with US president, Donald Trump, on Monday, August 30, he told him that herders who have been largely blamed for the killings don't carry AK-47 rifles as claimed, but sticks and machetes.

He further attributed the attacks to gunmen who were trained by former Libyan president, Muammar Gaddafi, who died in 2011.

He told Trump, "The problem of herders in Nigeria is a very long historical thing. The Nigerian herders don't carry anything more than a stick and occasionally a matchet to cut down foliage and give it to their animals, these ones are carrying AK-47.

"So, people should not underrate what happened in Libya. 43 years of Ghaddaffi, people were recruited from the Sahel and trained to shoot and kill. With the demise of Ghaddaffi they moved to other countries and region and carried the experience with them."

Since the killings in 2018 reached a tipping point, President Buhari has been accused of failing to deal authoritatively with the insecurity it has created because the suspected perpetrators are his kinsmen.

However, during the interview with VOA, he assured that the federal government is putting active measures in place to solve the crisis and curb the menace of insecurity in the country.

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