The Kaduna State Police Command on Monday put a lie to speculations that dozens of men loaded into two military pick-up vans in a video that went viral on the social media over the weekend were bandits.
Rather, the police authorities said the men were victims of “mistaken identity”.
Police spokesman in the state, Yekini Ayoku, reportedly made the clarification during a peace meeting attended by the state’s commissioner for internal security and home affairs, Samuel Aruwan; chairman of Chikun Local Government, D.O Igwilo, and military officers and soldiers of the 312 Artillery regiment on Monday.
He said some bandits had attacked a Fulani settlement in Kakura, Kujama district of Chikum Local Government of the state, killed the brother of the head of the community.
The gunmen from there went to another community and rustled their cattle.
Members of a local vigilance group from the community where the brother of the village head was killed reportedly pursued the gunmen. Similarly, the Fulani herder went in search of their rustled cattle.
“While in the forest, the two sides clashed. In the process, three of the Fulani were killed and a number of others were injured.
“The information got to the military detachment in the area, and they went for rescue and they took the dead and the injured to the hospital.
“Presently, the injured are now being treated at 44 Nigerian Army Reference Hospital.
“So, these people taken to the hospital are not bandits, but rather, from the narrations of both sides, it was discovered that it was a case of mistaken identity.
“So, what we have done here is to bring the two communities together, then the local government chairman, house assembly member, the district head and head of the Fulani community have been asked to go back and ensure peace among the communities,” he said.
Already, a Fulani group has sent a written complaint to authorities in Kaduna State seeking redress over how soldiers dehumanised the herders whom they alleged were framed by members of the vigilance group.
The herders, under the auspices of Gan Allah Fulani Development Association of Nigeria, also appealed to a popular Islamic cleric, Ahmad Gumi, who was copied in the letter, to help them deliver their complaint to the authorities.