We did not claim responsibility for attacks - Miyetti Allah

The assocaition said a controversial statement attributed to it was not made on its behalf.

Muslim Fulani herdsmen were reported to have killed dozens of people in several communities in Plateau on Saturday, leading to subsequent retaliation by locals who reportedly targeted Muslims in some communities.

MACBAN's chairman in the north-central zone, Danladi Ciroma, had earlier alleged in a statement that the attacks were retaliation for the surge in cattle rustling in the state, accusing indigenous Berom youths of stealing cows from herdsmen, with about 300 cows lost to cattle rustling in the last few weeks.

Ciroma's statement generated a lot of criticism from Nigerians who have largely blamed the country's premier pastoralist association of enabling the killings without facing any consequences from security agencies.

MACBAN has responded to the statement and denied that it originated from its association which does not promote violence or condone it.

While speaking during an interview on PTV Online on Tuesday, June 26, the association's national secretary, Usman Baba-Ngelzarma, said it doesn't condone such violence and has never endorsed the killings.

He said, "We have never claimed responsibility and will never claim responsibility because the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association is a non-violent, peaceful association. We don't encourage violence; we don't accept it, support it, or condone it in any way and by whosoever. We don't like violence.

"Whoever is speaking on behalf of this association that's not the national president, my humble self, who is the national secretary, or the national PRO, is on his own. He's not speaking for the association; he's speaking on behalf of his humble self, not the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association.

"How can we take responsibility? We're not a violent association."

He further sympathised with the government and people of Plateau State for the killings, describing it as 'unfortunate'.

"I was misquoted" - Miyetti Allah executive

Ciroma, who had made the controversial statement about the Plateau killings being a reprisal, denied he ever tacitly took responsibilty for the attacks.

While speaking during a phone-in interview during Baba-Ngelzarma's appearance, Ciroma said his initial statement had nothing to do with the Plateau State killings but about cattle rustling in another district of the state.

He said, "The paper quoted me, but I called the paper. I told them, 'How manage you misquoted me?' So I don't know of this.

"He called me and said he just wanted to equalise his speech, I said, 'No, what I said is not what you've written. Try by all means and write a rejoinder and apology. If not, within three days, I'll sue you.' I told them this.

"The information I passed is about those cattle with the rustlers but that thing happened in a different district; that district is not even close to where this thing happened. So I don't know and I didn't hear of any cow rustling in that district where those killings occured. I don't know what happened there and I don't know who are the people that did that."

He said the conflict between Fulani herdsmen and the indigenous Berom people in Plateau State is due to a culture of mistrust between both groups. He urged leaders of both groups to fish out the criminal elements among them so that peace can reign.

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