Community disagrees with Kaduna govt, says killed herdsmen were terrorists from Benin Republic
The Birnin-Gwari Emirate Progressive Union (BEPU), has faulted claims by the Kaduna State government over two herdsmen who were allegedly lynched by angry youths in a community in the Emirate on Sunday.
The Chairman of the Union, in a statement on Tuesday, said though the mob action by aggrieved youths was highly condemnable, the “so-called herdsmen were actually terrorists from Benin Republic who had infiltrated the Birnin-Gwari communities alongside otters”.
Following the incident, the Kaduna government in a statement by Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan on behalf of Governor Nasir El-Rufai, said the victims of the jungle justice were herdsmen and vowed to make sure the perpetrators were brought to book.
However, in the statement made available to Ripples Nigeria, the BEPU distanced itself from the action of the youths saying it was a responsible organisation which does not condone illegal acts.
“BEPU is a distinct and peaceful union which is clearly against any form of mob action under any guise and is hereby warning citizens not to resort to taking laws into their hands, irrespective of frustration and provocation.
“We have always urged our citizens to channel their grievances to appropriate authorities at all times and continue to devote themselves to prayers for divine intervention in the current insecurity situation.
“We also hail security forces for the successes recorded in sanitizing Birnin-Gwari but we will continue to task them to step up the operations in communities surrounding the Emirate where bandits are currently demanding and forcing communities to pay protection fee and crop harvesting levies.
“While we condemn the lynching of two suspected bandits on Sunday, BEPU is concerned with the way the Kaduna State government have quickly come up with the narrative that the victims were herdsmen. They released the statement without proper investigation and evidence which was a selective and deliberate attempt to portray Birnin Gwari in bad light.
Read also:El-Rufai condemns murder of 2 herdsmen in Kaduna
“If due diligence and proper investigation had been carried out before releasing the statement, the government would have realised that the bandits were actually foreign terrorists from Benin Republic who, along with others, have infiltrated Birnin-Gwari communities in the name of being herders.
“Such deliberate selection provides a false narrative on the issue and may endanger the helpless innocent citizens of the Birnin-Gwari local government.
“The Union, however, appreciates government’s resolve to investigate and bring perpetrators of the primitive act to book but we will warn government officials not to be in haste to issue sensitive statements without scrutinising the identities of the alleged ‘herders’ lynched by a mob.
“Records available to BEPU show that the lynched ‘herders’ were terrorists mercenaries from the Republic of Benin and not herdsmen as falsely reported earlier.
“BEPU was reliably informed that the suspects had forcefully snatched a motorcycle from a farmer on the outskirts of Birnin-Gwari main town.
“Therefore, BEPU is concerned to observe that the statement issued by the government on the issue did not equally capture the entire fact or commiserated with innocent citizens of Birnin-Gwari who had been attacked at different locations,” the statement said.
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