Central Nigeria: Suspected herdsmen, Sunday killed a Community Leader in Plateau State’s Daffo District of Bokkos Local Government Area, Mr. Musa Daniel Taka.
Taka, 49, the Community Head of Kambang-Malul hamlet was hit on the neck near the hind brain with an object believed to be an axe, while walking to his house, at about 8pm local time.
The assailants, likely laying ambush, took down the Village Chief, tiptoeing from behind, and fled immediately, said an eyewitness, Mr. Danjuma Taka.
“I was walking in front of him and suddenly heard him fall down. I ran immediately into the village screaming when I turned and saw him bleeding with torchlights escaping into corn farms,” Danjuma told Journalists, Thursday.
Taka was murdered hours to a scheduled hearing into a case of assault before him, brought against some herders by a local crop farmer, Mr. Amas Daniel.
Daniel was gang-beaten with herding sticks last week Thursday, when, according to him, he attempted chasing some straying cattle out of his crop farm.
In his words, “From my house, I saw the cattle grazing on the growing crops. I queried the action of the herders and demanded that they moved them out of the farm. But they confronted me, asking me to chase the cattle if I had the nerves. I took a stick and started to chase them and the herders, three in number rushed me and started brutalizing me.”
Police investigating the case located parents of the assaulters and mandated them to pay the medical bills of the assaulted farmer, it was gathered.
On Sunday when he was discharged, the slain community leader fixed Monday for a followup meeting with the assaulted farmer and parents of the suspects.
He was however murdered near the assaulted Daniel’s house, leaving suspicions of a planned followup attack on the farmer.
“Since it happened near my house on the day I was discharged, shortly after the community leader came to see me, and a day to the scheduled meeting where I was expected to give further details on the assault in my farm, I can’t help but believe I was the prime target,” Daniel said.
A native woman however said the assailants, hiding in the bushes, rushed towards her minutes earlier, while walking in the same path but retreated as she fled.
Chairman of the Forums of Ron Kulere Development Associations, Mr. Benjamin Shaweng believes the attack may have targeted both the community leader and the subject he was defending.
He said, “There are no two ways about it. The interconnections are just too clear. The people that attacked this man (Daniel) are the same people that attacked the community leader. We have had several cases like that in Bokkos. A herder will destroy your crops or assault you and when you take the case further and it favours you, he comes back later for your life and that of any other person standing with you.”
The suspects of the farmland assault on Mr. Daniel have records of criminal conspiracy and murder already, said the Youth President of Kambang-Malul hamlet, Mr. Malan Laurence Makwin.
“The same suspects were indicted in the murder of a youth in neighboring Malul village in February 2020. They were arrested and detained but later released. Since then, they have been threatening people with abandon,” said the Youth leader.
Authorities have yet to speak on the murder, but Police arrived the scene soon as it was reported, and are believed to be investigating the case.