There is anxiety in Plateau State over the plot by some fifth columnists to renew the farmers-herders clash.
The said plot was designed to disrupt the relative peace being enjoyed in the state.
It was learnt that those forces are behind the recent intermittent attacks on innocent villagers in the past few weeks. The latest was Monday’s attack on Hawal Shuaibu in Dorowa village while grazing his cattle.
Security agencies are on the trail of the plotters who are suspected to be highly-placed in the society.
A top source, who spoke in confidence, said: “intelligence report indicated that there are plans to attack Fulani herders and their cattle in order to set them against innocent farmers, especially in Berom communities.
“They want to make Plateau unsafe with internecine crises. The details of the plot are being studied by security and intelligence agencies.
“A key part of the plot is that the masterminds are unhappy with the return of peace to the state. The suspects, who are being trailed, believe they can achieve their objective when the state is set on fire.
“Some of them were also said to be shocked by how the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari restored peace to the North Central and some parts of the North-West including Zamfara and Birnin Gwari axis in Kaduna.”
A security source said the “conspiracy theory cannot be ruled out but we are studying the situation. We are mounting surveillance on high-profile suspects behind the alleged plans to ignite a fresh crisis between Fulani herders and farmers in Plateau State.
“We are closing in on some of these people and very soon, the plot will be exposed to the public.
Security men are battling to halt the fresh wave of violent attacks on herders.
Shuaibu was attacked on Monday and his cows – about 100- were rustled.
Security men described the attacks as “purely activities of crininals,” meant to instigate ethnic violence and hate.
Chairman of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), Barkin Ladi chapter, Alhaji Shuaibu Bayero and Director Muhammed Adam, recounted the attack.
Bayero said on the telephone: “Right now as I am talking to you, we are in Sunnah Clinic in Barkin Ladi where the victim is receiving treatment.
“One of our boys, called Hawal Shuaibu was grazing his cows in the bush, at about 5:30pm today (Monday evening), some people carrying guns attacked him. He was shot on the chest and when he collapsed, the gunmen made away with about 100 cows.
“The boy now is in a critical condition. We have been referred to the Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH) for proper medical attention. We don’t know if the boy will survive because the bullet hit him on the chest.
“We have reported the incident to the security agencies while trying to help our brother to survive”
Adam added: “This kind of attack and cow rustling has been going on almost daily in Berom communities in the last one month. This attack is becoming too much. The attack took place around Dorowa village and the cows where led towards Fan by the attackers.”
Confirming that the matter had been reported to security agencies, Adam said: “As a matter of fact, the security agencies helped us with their patrol vehicle to convey the victim to the hospital for treatment.”
Spokesman of the Special Military Task Force in charge of security in the state code named Operation Safe Haven (OPSH), Major Umar Adam, said:
“Yes, the attack took place and from our preliminary findings, it was purely activities of criminals.
“We find this attack shocking because we have been holding peace meetings with stakeholders in Barkin Ladi local government to ensure that there is peaceful coexistence.
“Not withstanding, our men have been deployed in the area to go after the attackers so as to recover the rustled cows”
Similar incidents of cattle rustling often lead to bloody attacks and loss of innocent lives and properties in the locality, like the attack that led to the killing of over 200 people in the local government on June 23.