By MARIAM ALESHINLOYE AGBOOLA JOS, AND MOLLY KILETE. ABUJA
• 5 securitymen among 10 killed in fresh Plateau attack
For their role in the alleged mutiny at 7 Division, Nigerian Army, Maiduguri, Borno State on May 14 this year, 18 soldiers have been arrested, sources claimed.
This is even as gunmen suspected to be Fulani herdsmen, shot and killed 10 people including five soldiers, a family of four and an elderly man in two villages in Riyom Local Government Area of Plateau State yesterday.
The soldiers who were arrested after an investigating team set up by the Defence Headquarters in Abuja, which looked into the immediate cause of the alleged mutiny at the Maimalari Cantonment, are currently in detention.
They were arrested and disarmed after the team found them culpable of the offence and flown to Abuja.
Sources said the soldiers who are still being interrogated, would soon appear before a General Court Martial to be set by the Army authorities in Abuja.
The suspects would be charged with alleged mutiny, indiscipline, insubordination, disobedience to standing orders among other offences, as stipulated in the Armed Forces Act.
Angry soldiers had on May 14 attempted to kill the former General Officer Commanding (GOC) the division, Major-General Abubakar Mohammed, when they allegedly opened fire at him after sighting the bodies of 10 of their colleagues, who were ambushed and killed by Boko Haram insurgents in one of the villages in the state.
The soldiers were said to have accused authorities of the division of possible information leakage to the terrorists about their operation.
The crisis led to the immediate redeployment of the GOC and his replacement.
Meanwhile, Fulani gunmen yesterday shot and killed five soldiers, a family of four and an elderly man in the two villages in Riyom Local Government Area. Some houses were also razed by the gunmen who had attacked Jol village and Galko in Rim district, all in Riyom LGA.
The gunmen who attacked Jol in the early hours of the day killed five men of the Special Task Force (STF) on Jos crisis and a woman with her three children. An old man was also shot dead.
The bandits who were suspected to be Fulani gunmen also went to Galko village where they pursued six men working on their farms and shot one on the leg, the others escaped. The wounded man was later rushed to the hospital.
Chairperson of Riyom LGA, Ms. Josephine Piyo, who confirmed the incident, said no arrest had been made.
Commenting on the attacks, the member representing Riyom in the House of Assembly, Daniel Dem, decried the killings, describing the incident as unfortunate. Dem appealed to the residents to remain calm and not to take laws into their hands
Efforts to reach the STF spokesman, Captain Ikedichi Iweha, to confirm the attacks, proved abortive as he was not picking his calls.
On Tuesday, the Fulani had alleged that gunmen suspected to be Berom had attacked their cattle that were taken out for grazing by some of their boys in Jol and Rim villages and killed 60 of them while 30 others were seriously wounded.
Leader of the Fulani or the Ardo, Alhaji Mohammad Adamu, told Daily Sun that the incident which was reported to the task force, took place about 1pm on Monday when some of their boys took out the cattle for grazing.
He said the attackers threw teargas at the cows before they started shooting at them.
He claimed that efforts by the Fulani men to rescue the wounded cows were also repelled by the Berom youths, who hid in the bush and fired shots at anybody in sight.
He said the attack was made easy for the Beroms because they had earlier raised false alarm that the Fulani were planning to attack Shonon village. In response, the securitymen had moved their men and equipment to the area to forestall any attack by the herdsmen.
“This now gave the Beroms easy access to scare away the boys grazing the cattle and killed the cows one after the other”, he claimed. Howerver, Capt. Iweha disclosed that he did not have details of the attack, but he was on his way to the villages to confirm the attacks.
Meanwhile, the Miyyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association (MACBAN) in Riyom LGA, had denied a report that the Fulani have a camp in Rim, where insurgents were being trained for possible attack on Berom villages.
In a statement signed by the Chairman and Secretary, Isa Abdullahi and Abdul karim Umar respectively, the association advised law enforcement agencies to investigate the veracity of the allegation.
It described the claim as a grand design by some mischiefmakers to tarnish the image of the Fulani in Plateau State and indeed, Nigeria and to discourage the Federal Government from establishing Grazing Reserve Commission to address the general problems of the Fulani.