The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, MACBAN, has expressed grief over the death of dozens of pastoralists and butchers in Zamfara State.
A statement by the President, Baba Othman Ngelzarma blamed the Nigerian military, noting that their deceased members lost their lives either in a bomb blast or an airstrike.
The victims died on January 21 in Rukubi community, Doma Local Government Area, and were buried on Wednesday.
In attendance at the burial were Deputy Governor Emmanuel Akabe, Commissioner of Police, Emirs of Doma and Lafia, Doma LG Chairman, State MACBAN Chairman, among others.
Narrating their last moments, Ngelzarma recalled the herdsmen travelled to Benue State last week.
“They went to retrieve about 1,250 cows impounded by the Livestock Guards after paying N29million fine for violating the anti-open grazing law,” he said.
“It was in the process of offloading the livestock that an attack killed 31 pastoralists and 8 Hausa butchers from Benue,” he said.
Ngelzarma confirmed four others are on admission in a hospital in Lafia, confirming the incident is the third within one year.
He said in the last two occurrences, “it was clear the Air Force was involved in strafing livestock between the border of Benue and Nasarawa.
“But the recent one is not clear whether it was a bomb blast, a distant attack or an airstrike as reported by our Nasarawa Branch.”
The statement categorized the assault as a war crime under the Geneva Convention which prohibits wanton killing of livestock.
MACBAN wondered how animals became “culprits to deserve such barbaric action by a supposedly well-trained outfit of the Federal Government”.
The organisation wants apology and compensation for the victims’ families, urging the authorities to probe the “terror” and “punish the culprits” to forestall recurrence.
“The Federal Government must put a stop to the involvement of Air Force in pursuit and killing of livestock to appease the Benue State Government,” Ngelzarma added.