Contrary to recent claims by President Muhammadu Buhari that Fulani herdsmen only “carry sticks,” an insight that gives a lie to this has been obtained exclusively by this reporter. In recorded audio and video materials documented by one of the leaders of the Fulani Herders’ Militia, who gave his name only as Sarkin Yaki, the group has owned up to the systemic killings in the North East and North Central states of Nigeria.
In the audio recording, Sarkin Yaki, whose real name is Buba and widely known in his community as Jauro Buba, mocked their victims particularly the community chiefs in Bachama kingdom around Numan in Adamawa state for their vulnerability, and helplessness before his gallant warriors. Dismissing the civilian communities as inconsequential, Buba said that faced with the ruthless wrath of his militiamen, these communities stood no chance of defending their people or even repelling his militiamen. “Excuse, Sarakunan Bachama Ina Sallama Gare ku,” said the self confessed Sarkin Yaki and commander of the Fulani Herdsmen Militia.
Detailing the locations where he successfully led his campaigns, Buba listed the the communities in Adamawa and environs to include Numa, Kikan, Safaran, Lauro, Dom, Bemti, Balahin, Wurdi, Ngamaldio, Geme, Dumusu, Bolki, Nega and Mpam. He described his victims in these communities as cowards. “We have over 800 rifles, machine guns; Fulani now have bombs and military uniforms,” he boasted.
Blaming the military for doing nothing to protect them and their livestock, the Sarkin Yaki reglects: “we used to be shy of soldiers, but whenever we are killed or our cows are stolen, soldiers don’t come to us,” Buba declares, warning that his people “are no longer afraid of soldiers now that they have taken sides with their enemies.”
The Militia commander stated the genesis of the violence: “a result of one herdsman who was praying and his cow(s) strayed into the farmland of a villager, and the farmers pursued the cow back to the herd and met the herdsman still saying his prayers. The farmers attacked the Fulani man, whom according to Buba, had charms that made him unhurt by the attempts to hack him to death. The Fulani man wrestled one of the attackers and stabbed him to death. The following day, the Fulani community nearby was attacked, killing scores and burning down the village.”
He nevertheless did not mention the specific community where this incident occurred nor did he state the date. He further points accusing fingers at another village he considered complicit in the war against the Fulanis as Kikan in Adamawa, where according to him, “Fulani children and women were hacked to death, and their cows were either killed or taken away, their houses and properties in that village were burnt down.”
Addressing his anger towards the Bachama chiefs, Buba scoffed: “You went further to say, every single Fulani should leave Bachama kingdom, not only Fulanis, you said all Muslims too. So, I want to ask you where is it in the constitution that only one tribe can live and co-exist in a particular place? Which religion states that only one ethnic group can stay and live in a community?”
Evidently, from our investigations, this is the first time an armed militia name is being linked to this group in spite of the fact that the Global Terrorism Index in 2014 declared the Fulani Herdsmen Militia as ‘the fourth deadliest’ terrorist group in the world. The structure and operations of the group though vicious and ruthless, leaving a steady trail of blood across states and communities in Nigeria have remained shadowy. The Miyetti Allah, an association that represents cattle breeders in Nigeria, from our investigations, is not synonymous with the Militia group but seems to look away and not speaking up against this growing terror.
Last April, 2018 in the height of national outrage on the Fulani Herdsmen Militia killings in Benue state, the Sultan of Sokoto, and President-General of the Nigeria Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar issued a two month’s ultimatum to the Miyetti Allah to fish out the killers among the Fulanis, but not a jot of his word has been respected.
Buba, who lives in the border community between Benue and Cross River state, according to informed sources, has coordinated disturbing and chilling attack in Benue, Adamawa, Taraba states within this year. Buba has however admitted leading the attacks in Adamawa state.
By the Militia’s structure, the militia has command posts that oversee some locations such as Plateau and Kaduna under a cell; Benue, Adamawa and Taraba under another cell with some less vicious pockets of militia regimens fanned out in different parts of the country, particularly in the Southern states but are from time to time called into action whenever a large scale attack is planned. Which makes the militias, known and accessible to a wide network of herders.
Buba dismissed media speculations linking the motivation for their targeted attacks to President Buhari’s administration. “Did anyone banish the Fulanis from anywhere or killed them as it is the case today?” He claimed that attacks against the Fulanis escalated only during this administration, hence their decision to take up arms at a large scale. The notorious mass murderer who has curiously evaded security tracking equally dismissed links with Boko Haram elements in their fold. However, investigations reveal facts that contradict his claims. The Global Terrorism Index classification of the Fulani herdsmen militia as the fourth deadliest terrorist group in the world was made in 2014, about a year before President Buhari came to office. Equally, our investigations have established that at the height of Boko Haram onslaught in 2014, 2015 and 2016 there were no less than 500 Fulani fighters in Boko Haram.
In fact, dozens out of this number had climbed to privilege commander positions within the insurgency. Informed sources, state that although Boko Haram is not officially fighting on behalf of the Herdsmen Militia, they were neither opposed to their campaigns nor antagonistic to their objectives.
To underline the confidence under which the militia operates, Buba submitted his official mobile phone number. We make it available here: 08149123223.
By Ahmad Salkida