Noah Ebije, Kaduna.
Kaduna State Commissioner of Police (CP), Ahmad Abdulrahman, has said the figure of casaulties given by Governor Nasir El-Rufai in Kajuru killings was preempting police investigation into the crisis.
Governor El-Rufai had recently said 130 persons were killed in the crisis as against 66 he earlier announced on the eve of last Saturday’a postponed election.
However, speaking to newsmen, yesterday, CP Abdulrahman said, in such crisis situation, it was not proper to give figure of the dead until investigation is concluded.
He said: “I told the governor that figures in a crisis of this magnitude should be left unquoted until all investigations have been concluded in all the areas. You cannot come up with a figure, otherwise you will quote a particular figure now and quote another later; this is what is happening now. As far as police is concerned, we are investigating. As we speak my men are still in the bush with humanitarian workers trying to actually found out the true position of things.
“We are now at the stage of crisis management which is very delicate. That is why nobody should stampede our investigation. If the governor tells you that the casualty figure is 200, he is just quoting figures. It could be more than that or less than that.”
Abdulrahman said there was a mix up in the assertion by the Fulani that the policemen took pictures of the corpses they buried one after another.
“That very hamlet where they talked about burying 37 corpses was discovered by the military. The terrain was very terrible and we could not even identify areas affected by the crisis between February 10 and 11, when it started. So, no policemen went ahead of the military. It was the military that went there first, to assist the native Fulani who were affected to bury their dead relatives.”
He said the policemen went there later with the General Officer Commanding (GOC), whose men discovered the place for a stakeholders’ meeting, in order to calm nerves and find a lasting solution to the crisis.
“We were told there was a camp which they would want us to see. That was when my policemen went there and met some military personnel. That was the day the police took pictures of the burnt hamlets and the shallow grave.
“We actually perceived the smell of decomposing corpses oozing out of the place. We also saw two burnt motorcycles there. That was the first time we saw the man who claimed that 37 dead persons were buried in the shallow grave. He even said his parents, wife, uncle and relations were also among the dead bodies that were buried.
We believed him because the whole hamlet was cleared. We could only see the carcasses of animals full of maggots.
“We are working on three prominent theories. First is that unknown gunmen, believed to be Fulani, attacked the Adara people and escaped in the night of February 11. The Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in charge of the area, immediately, mobilised his men to the area, to comb the bushes in search of the perpetrators in the middle of the night. “It was there that they started seeing the carnage. Unfortunately, the Adara natives went to the Fulani communities and carried out a reprisal.”