World Bulletin / News Desk
Nigerian soldiers have been accused of killing nearly 30 Fulani people – mostly old men and women – during an attack on their settlement in the Keana local council area of the central Nasarawa State.
"This is the most despicable thing I have seen," Mohamed Hussein, secretary of Miyeti Allah, an association of local Fulani herdsmen, told Anadolu Agency by phone.
He claimed a detachment of Nigerian soldiers had stormed the settlement early on Thursday, shooting at everyone in sight.
"Our people woke up to a day of tragedy," Hussein said.
"I just came back from mortuary, where the corpses are dumped. More than 30 people were killed," he added.
The community leader went on to accuse Nigerian authorities of committing "genocide" against his people, threatening legal action.
"This has been going on across Nigeria," Hussein claimed.
"Definitely, we will not leave this lying low," he said. "We will get our lawyer to file a case at the International Criminal Court."
Haruna Oshegba, chairman of the Keana local council, confirmed the incident to reporters, but said he was only aware of eight casualties whose bodies had been deposited at a hospital in state capital Lafia.
"There is a crisis. I'm aware it involves the military, but I do not have much detail now," he said.
Police spokesman Kumar Numan, for his part, denied any knowledge of the incident.
"I do not have any information regarding this incident – at least not yet," he told AA.
"We will brief you pressmen when we have any information."
Military spokesman Chris Olukolade, meanwhile, could not be reached for comment, nor has any official statement been issued. Repeated calls to his phone went unanswered, nor did he respond to text messages.
Fulani herdsmen are nomads who move from one settlement to another in search of better grazing grounds for their animals.
They often clash with farmers amid tit-for-tat accusations over the destruction of farmland and cattle theft.
Last week, the military announced heavy troop deployments to states in central Nigeria and the northwestern Kaduna State, in which locals have clashed with suspected Fulani gunmen.Last Mod: 04 Nisan 2014, 10:11