JUST IN; Over 1,000 cows arrested by Security operatives
The Special Task Force on security in Plateau, otherwise known as ‘Operation Safe Haven (OPSH) has arrested 1,000 cows grazing on farmlands in the embattled local government areas of Bokkos and Barkin Ladi local government areas of the state.
Spokesman of STF, Capt. Oya James, disclosed this in a statement on Wednesday, noting that the arrest was part of the strategy aimed at addressing the recurring sectarian strife in the state.
The statement said, “In an ongoing efforts to address the security concerns in Mangu Local Government Area of Plateau State, troops of Operation SAFE HAVEN (OPSH) today (Wednesday) arrested over 1000 cattle and a large number of sheep grazing on farmlands belonging to locals at Dumunan village in Bwai district of Mangu LGA.
“Preliminary investigation revealed that these cattle and sheep came from Bokkos and Barkin-Ladi LGAs respectively, and are currently in own custody for necessary action.
“Recall that the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 3 Division Nigerian Army and Commander Operation SAFE HAVEN, Major General A. E. Abubakar, had promised to seriously tackle the root causes of the crisis and block anything that could lead to renewed attacks in Mangu general area,” the statement added.
However, the State Secretary of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), Alhaji Nuru Mohammed Abdullahi, said that the impression given by the arrest could be that the cows were deliberately sent into the farms by the herders.
Abdullahi, who spoke in an interview with Daily Sun in Jos on Wednesday, said that contrary to such impression, the cows were abandoned by their owners during the clashes in Mangu and so they strayed into the farms unguarded.
According to him, “You know during the crises in Mangu, Fulanis were running helter skelter for their lives and abandoned their cows and that was how they lost many of the cows and some rearers were even killed in the process. So they went into farmlands destroying crops and so on and so forth. So any cow they find around might have been as a result of the clashes that occurred two or three weeks ago.”
He said that MACBAN is working in synergy with OPSH to solve the problems in the state.
On what happens after the arrest of the cows, Abdullahi said that the army in concert with the herders and farmers would normally assess the level of damage to the crops and compensations paid to the owners of farmlands, after which the cows would be returned to their owners.
STF spokesman also corroborated the assertion by the MACBAN secretary.
According to him, all the parties normally meet to assess the level of damage after which compensations were given and the cows eventually released to their owners, adding that the strategy had helped to ease some of the tension in the restive communities.