Miyetti Allah demands release of 47 armed herdsmen arrested in Oyo

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The leader of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association in Oyo State, Ibrahim Jiji, has beckoned Governor Seyi Makinde to release dozens of Fulani herdsmen allegedly apprehended with firearms by security operatives in the state.

No fewer than 47 armed herders were arrested Sunday by ‘Operation Burst,’ a Joint Security Task Force in Ibarapa North Local Government Area of the state.

The police in Oyo had disclosed that the gunmen, who were rounded up at Ofiki River along Tapa/Igangan Road in Ibarapa, and currently being held at the State Criminal Investigation Department in Ibadan, had claimed to be on the trail of kidnappers in the area when arrested.

The suspects have, however, been alleged to be on a reprisal mission, following the fatal invasion of kidnappers’ hideouts in the local government by men of the state Security Network Agency codenamed ‘Operation Amotekun.’

At least three people were killed in the raid which was conducted by Amotekun in collaboration with local hunters, vigilantes and Miyetti Allah.

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Jide Ajani, a spokesman to Governor Makinde, had refuted claims that the operation was targeted at the Fulanis, while strongly stating that only criminals lost their lives in the raid.

The Oyo chairman of Miyetti Allah has, nonetheless, insisted that the 47 arrested gunmen of Fulani extraction were vigilantes deployed by the association to complement the efforts of Amotekun in addressing security concerns in Ibarapa.

“They invited us (Miyetti Allah) to a meeting in Ibadan where they told us that they needed our support to fight insecurity in Ibarapa area; so we told them that we are going to give them 50 among our vigilantes who are Fulanis,” Mr. Jiji told newsmen in Ibadan on Monday.

“Those people are not criminals but they are the people securing us. They are registered vigilantes and they are working with police and other security agencies,” he stated, while appealing to the state government to release the suspects from custody.

Killings by armed herdsmen have escalated in many parts of the country, fuelling apprehension that the proliferation of firearms amongst herders may threaten national security much worse than rampaging terrorist sect Boko Haram.

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