Some Miyetti Allah officials in Oyo State have denied that they carried out a joint operation with Amotekun operatives and raided the settlements of Fulani herders suspected to be kidnappers in the state.
The officials, who spoke in confidence, told Daily Trust yesterday that they were not part of the operation and wondered why a settlement that existed for over 45 years, with all the people living there known to relevant authorities, would be raided and some people killed.
Three Fulani herders, including one Alhaji Usman Okebi and two of his sons, were reportedly killed by Amotekun operatives during a raid at Okebi in Ibarapa North Local Government Area of the state.
A section of the media reported a clash between some herders and Amotekun in the community.
However, at a press conference on Sunday, the Commandant of Oyo State Security Network Agency, Operation Amotekun, Col. Olayinka Olayanju (rtd), said there were no clashes between his men and Fulani herdsmen in Ibarapa land and Oke Ogun axis of Oyo State.
The commandant, who addressed reporters in Ibadan, said that his men launched six operations in four local government areas. The team in Aiyete was attacked inside the forest by suspected bandits, three of whom were killed.
According to him, the operations were fully supported by Fulani leaders living in the areas, and several Miyetti Allah members were part of the functions.
“Contrary to any report you might have come across, there was no clash whatsoever between Fulani herdsmen and Amotekun in Ibarapa or Oke Ogun axis of Oyo State.
“What happened was that we launched clearance operations in different locations around the thick forests of the four local governments that have suffered kidnapping and wanton killings in recent times.
“When our men entered the forests at Aiyede, they were attacked and a gun battle ensued, which led to the death of three of the attackers. One of our men sustained injuries.
“It was not a clash with the Fulani, because Fulanis were part of the operation planning and we raided the forests together. Amotekun worked closely with Miyetti Allah,” he said.
But one of the Miyetti Allah leaders, who spoke to Daily Trust on the phone, countered Col. Olayanju, insisting that they were not part of the operations.
He said those killed were innocent herders. “Of course, we had a meeting with the Amotekun leadership and agreed to carry out a joint operation. They told us some people had been abducted and they needed to go out for an operation to rescue them.
“We said it is okay to carry out the operation, but there was the need for us to be fully involved because people in some of the locations they want to visit don’t speak Yoruba and some of the Amotekun personnel don’t speak Fulfulde or Hausa.
“We said they have to be careful so that they would not mistake innocent herders as kidnappers. We all agreed to meet at a certain place and time and we waited for them but sadly they didn’t come,” he said.
Another official said they only received a distress call after the damage has been done at one of the Fulani settlements. “We were told that the Amotekun operatives had killed some of our people and we called the relevant authorities. We will give you details of what happened,” he said.