At least 12 Fulani herdsmen have been reportedly killed while another 14 declared missing by the Fulani community in Oyo State, after an attack by suspected local farmers at Okere near Iseyin in Iseyin local government area of the state.
The chairman of the Meyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) Oyo state chapter, Yaqub Bello who made this disclosure at Iseyin on Tuesday, said the figure was arrived at following reports from those who have come forward to report about their missing wards and relatives to the MACBAN Secretariat at Iseyin as at Tuesday morning.
"As we speak,12 persons had followed the Police to the village to pick identified corpses. But, shortly after, another 14 persons have come over to report about their missing persons. In all now, 12 persons dead and 14 are missing. We are awaiting the return of the Police to give us situation report of these 14 persons from the Abu Gaga village.
He also hinted that a number of their cattle had been killed, with tension at the Fulani Sabo base at Iseyin was mounting, "but we have been able to appeal to our members to take the incident as a will of Allah, and that nobody should go on any reprisal attack."
Bello said trouble started on Saturday, when there was an incident of a farmer found dead at his farm, "which could not yet be traced to any our herdsmen. But, by Saturday evening, we started receiving reports of killings. A herdsman boy who escaped gave the report. We quickly called in the Police and by yesterday (Monday), 12 persons have been killed. The police had to follow them to the scene to recover their corpses," he said.
He stressed that before now, there has been relative peace between the host farmers and the herdsmen, wondering what could have warranted the killings incident.
The South West Coordinator of MACBAN, Muhammed Labar who spoke with a Daily Trust correspondent, said, "These are herdsmen that are always here at Oyo for dry season grazing at Abu Gaga at Ikere Dam.
"We have been peaceful here, since 1992 when we recorded and unfortunate incident, there have been no carnage of this magnitude. As you can hear another 14 persons are feared dead now. We can only seek for justice. This is an act of evil that cannot be tolerated. 12 persons have been identified with pictures and their names and hear now telling us that another 14 persons? the Southwest leader wondered.
As at time of leaving the community, prayers were offered for the repose of the dead and lasting solution to the crisis.