July 23, 2021

Plateau farmer found dead after alleged arrest by military over death of herder

Locals gather at scene of crime at Kuru Jenta, near Marabar Jama'a Jos

Police in Plateau State are investigating the death of a local farmer – Mr. Dong Alamba, 35, hours after he was allegedly arrested by military operatives.

Troops attached to Special Task Force Operation Safe Haven picked Mr. Dong on Sunday in Bukuru, Jos South area, at about dusk, sources say. Six others were said to have been arrested at Marabar Foron in Barkin Ladi area, hours earlier. They were arrested in connection to the alleged murder of a Fulani herder near Marabar Foron on Saturday, it was gathered.

Nigerian laws confer powers to investigate crimes on the Police. But the Special Task Force, a peacekeeping outfit established to prevent violent clashes among civilian populations had yet to handover the suspects to Police, when Mr. Dong’s corpse was found on Monday at Kuru Jenta junction near Operation Safe Haven Sector 6 Headquarters.

Troops of Sector 4, Barkin Ladi however carried out the arrests, it was learnt. There was little blood stain on the corpse, suggesting the farmer was killed and dumped at the junction which leads to his house.

Eight miners were killed by suspected herdsmen two weeks ago in Kuru Gah village, 5kms from the scene of Dong’s murder, and another six killed last Thursday in Wereng village in Riyom area, but no investigations followed.

STF has since 2011 been accused of bias against local farmers with several attacks allegedly aided by troops. But military rules of engagement require troops to protect “minorities” as weaker populations. Herdsmen being minority groups in Plateau likely fall within this category.

Many attacks against local communities have however been averted by STF personnel in the State. But few corrupt personnel might be smearing the outfit’s image.