Armed ViolenceNews

5 Dead As Criminal-herders Invade Borno Plantations

Tension brews in Borno as farmers who dared all consequences by venturing into territories besieged by terrorists now face a new type of attack.

At least five farmers were reportedly killed this week by criminal herders who have been ransacking farmlands around the city of Maiduguri, capital of Borno state, Northeast Nigeria. 

The state commandant of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) Farouq Musa confirmed the Wednesday attack on farmers by unknown herders.

The NSCDC said one person died and two others were badly injured in the said attack.

The commandant said “there was a misunderstanding between some herders and farmers that led to a loss of life.”

“Some farmers came under attack from a group of herdsmen while resisting the invasion of their farms. Three of the farmers sustained injury from arrows fired at them; one died and one was rushed to the hospital with the arrow in his body.”

“We jointly intervened in conjunction with the police, and the situation was brought under control.”

“As a matter of urgent concern, the state Governor was duly informed and he issued a serious warning to the herders, asking them to stay away from the farmlands until the harvests are over. The governor had instructed that any herder who defied this directive should be dealt with using the full extent of the law,” he said.

However, sources familiar with the attack told HumAngle that the criminal herders used machetes and poisoned arrows to assault farmers who resisted the unlawful invasion of their farms. 

A top security operative in Maiduguri, who wished not to be named in this report, said the herders had in the past weeks herded their cattle around the township of Maiduguri where farmers are currently harvesting crops they have cultivated in the safe locations approved by the government. 

The source said the invasion of the criminal herders and cattle  into the neighbouring farmlands “is unprecedented.” 

“We have seen an unprecedented number of Fulani herdsmen who flocked more than 40,000 cows around the Kashmiri, Dala Yazara, Kangaleri, Umarari-Alajiri, and Daiwa villages of Borno state, ” the source said. 

Maiduguri is surrounded by rivers that power agricultural activities both during and after the rainy seasons. The agrarian communities are located on the banks of these rivers. 

“The herdsmen began to arrive in these riverbank communities in early November at the time farmers were about to start harvesting their crops.

“Each time the farmers wanted to stop the herdsmen from flocking their animals into the farms, they would end up either attacked by machetes or arrows laced with poison.”

“We have lost count of the number of farmers that were injured during these attacks. But I can confirm to you that at least five farmers have been killed.”

“The latest attack on farmers occurred yesterday (Thursday) at about 3.30 pm WAT, when two brothers who were harvesting their farm produce near Daiwa on the way to Damboa, got shot at and injured by an arrow fired at them,” the source said.  

“One of the brothers died, while the other who survived after being hit by an arrow that pierced the upper part of his stomach, is currently admitted at the hospital.”

The source said the criminal herders would sometimes give an ultimatum for farmers to finish harvesting their produce in a week or risk it being run over by their cattle.

Efforts to contact Alhaji Talba, Borno State commissioner for Agriculture, proved  abortive as his phone numbers were switched off. 

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Abdulkareem Haruna

Abdulkareem Haruna is a Nigerian journalist currently employed as the Editor for Lake Chad at HumAngle. For over a decade, he has demonstrated a passionate commitment to reporting on the Boko Haram conflict and the crisis in the Lake Chad region of northeastern Nigeria. He is a graduate of English Language and holds a Diploma in Mass Communications. Prior to his current role, he served as an assistant editor at both Premium Times and Leadership Newspaper.

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