Nigerian soldiers escorted herdsmen to attack villagers in Ogun: Report

The soldiers from 35 Artillery Brigade, Alamala, Abeokuta, reportedly took part in the operation, which was designed to intimidate villagers.

Nigerian soldiers escorted Fulani herders to brutalise a community in Ogun after members of the community rejected incessant grazing of livestock on their farmlands, The Nation reported on Saturday.

The Lagos-based daily said the incident occurred on December 19, 2020, and at least 10 soldiers from the 35 Artillery Brigade, Alamala, Abeokuta, took part in the operation, which was designed to intimidate villagers.

Ubeku and other villages in Yewa North Local Government Area were beleaguered by the soldiers during the operation, which left several villagers severely injured. 

The Nation rendered images of brutalised residents of the communities in Ogun, which are largely situated on the western fringes along the border with Benin Republic.

A spokesman for the Nigerian Army did not return requests seeking comments on the operation from the Gazette, but The Nation said the police have brokered a peace arrangement between leaders of communities affected and herders.

The report came amidst heightened tension between southern and northern leaders over controversial herding of livestock by mostly nomadic Fulani. Governor Rotimi Akeredolu ordered unlicensed herders to vacate forest reserves in Ondo State; while tensions have been flaring in northern parts of Oyo State over repeated violence linked to herdsmen.

President Muhammadu Buhari has faced criticism for his lack of firm leadership on the crisis, watching deadly herdsmen attacks on southern villagers go unaddressed. 

Mr. Buhari, a Fulani from northern Nigeria, has denied allegations of partisanship, saying his government has done more to address decades-long clashes over diminishing natural resources than any other government since 1960. The government also said a peace initiative that was unveiled in 2018 would continue to address all issues linked to herdsmen violence. 

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