Governor Umaru Tanko Al-makura of Nasarawa state has said that the Fulani herdsmen killed by soldiers last week in Keana were not insurgents as wildly speculated.
Al-makura stated this on Friday, while paying a condolence visit to the paramount ruler of Keana, the Osana of Keana, Emmanuel Elayo.
He stated that the casualties of Wednesday’s military shooting were herdsmen resident in Keana and not insurgents as widely reported by some national dailies.
The Governor called on the Federal Government to review the military operation in the state to guard against civilian casualties, stressing the need for the operation to be reviewed, to focus on tracking the real insurgents traversing the borders of Benue, Nasarawa, Adamawa, Plateau, Taraba and Kogi states.
Al-makura, who disclosed that he was not informed of the military operation until it was underway, emphasised the need for traditional rulers to be duly informed of such operations in their locality in order to avert the incidence of innocent casualties.
The governor called on the people of the area, especially the herdsman, to remain calm and not to take law into their hands, while assuring the people that adequate measures were being put in place to avert such incidence and promised that the issue would be reported to the military authorities and to the President.
He maintained that the community-based approach to resolving the farmers/ herdsmen feud in the state was yielding results and would be improved upon.
Responding, the Osana of Keana, Emmanuel Elayo, describe the incident as “unfortunate” as the herdsman and farmers in the area were working hard to fish out criminal elements infiltrating their ranks to cause mayhem.
Elayo, acknowledged that most of those killed were resident in his domain and had lived peacefully with other ethnic groups in the area.
He said 10 corpses were brought to his palace by the herdsmen, while three others were receiving treatment at the hospital following the operation.
He urged the people of the area to eschew all forms of violence as no meaningful development could be achieved in an atmosphere of rancour.