Tension is now brewing in Kafanchan, Kaduna State, following the arrest of 24 suspected Fulani herdsmen with a truckload of arms and ammunition by soldiers.
The development has led to imposition of a 24-hour curfew on Kafanchan town, the commercial hub of Jema’a local government area of the state, yesterday.
Announcing the curfew, the chairman of the council, Mr Daniel Amos, disclosed that the decision was taken by the council to restore normalcy.
Amos explained that security operatives at Kwoi in Jaba LGA intercepted 24 travellers who claimed to be hunters from Katsina en route to Keffi, Nasarawa State.
He said the suspects, upon a search, were discovered to be in possession of dane guns, machete, knives, and bows and arrows.
The council boss said the arrested suspects were brought to the military base in Kafanchan for further interrogation.
He said the development attracted youths who came out en masse and threatened to take the law into their hands.
“The situation degenerated to a level that prompted the imposition of the curfew to enable security operatives take firm control,” he said.
The chairman, however, urged Kafanchan residents to remain calm and avoid all tendencies that could lead to a breach of the peace.
Meanwhile, soldiers have reportedly shot dead two young men who were among those that insisted that jungle justice be meted out to the 24 Fulani herdsmen arrested with weapons.
Mr Yashim Bonnat, 30, a youth leader in Kafanchan, said trouble started when youths surrounded the office where soldiers kept the 24 Fulani men that they had caught yesterday morning while trying to fuel their truck.
“I saw with my eyes the weapons recovered from them. They included 12 AK-47 rifles, about 13 dane guns, a bag of ammunition, all kinds of machetes, knives, and what looks like improvised explosives, among others.
“They are displaying the arms and made the men sit in front of them. No one needs to tell you that they are Fulani men.
“This made the youths here very angry. They were saying that the men were coming to attack Kafanchan and it was God that apprehended them. So they wanted the soldiers to release them to be lynched by them.”
Kaduna State police command spokesman DSP Aminu Lawan said the entire incident had to do with the Nigerian Army and not the police. “It is the army that arrested the people. It is the army that is said to have shot people. They have not briefed us. I cannot speak for them,” he said.
The army spokesman in Kaduna, Col. Usman Abdul, could not be reached for comment.
Yero calls for calm
Reacting to the development, Governor Ramalan Yero called on citizens resident in Kafanchan and environs to remain calm and law-abiding as government was doing all within its powers to sustain peace in the entire state.
A statement signed by the director-general, media and publicity, to the governor, Ahmed Maiyaki, called on the people to remain calm and desist from taking the law into their hands to avoid throwing the state into confusion and anarchy.
Governor Yero said security operatives have intensified surveillance across the state aimed at foiling any attempt by miscreants and criminals to attack innocent citizens in the area.
He called on all law-abiding citizens to cooperate with government and the security agencies in the ongoing push to rid the state of hoodlums and evildoers.
“This is not the time for people to obstruct the course of justice by attempting to perpetrate barbaric acts of jungle justice. Government and indeed security forces will never fold their arms and allow people take laws into their own hands.
“We want to assure the entire people of Kaduna State that in our resolve to end the spate of unwarranted attacks on innocent citizens, government will continue to work with security agencies to ensure that those behind the various killings in the state are brought to justice. This will be vigorously pursued without fear or favour,” the statement said.