Community leaders and security agents in Kaduna State have dismissed a viral video that went viral on Sunday, claiming that troops had killed and detained bandits in the Kakura region of the Chikun Local Government Area.
The supposed suspects being put into a military van were not bandits, but Fulani residents from a local town who were victims of a mistaken identity when vigilante groups attacked them while on the lookout for bandits.
It was also reported that two Kaduna hospitals turned them away when security personnel rescued them, despite the fact that several of them were gravely injured. Soldiers allegedly transported them to the 44 Nigerian Army Reference Hospital, where three were declared dead and 17 were treated.
Following a peace meeting between Fulani, Hausa, and Gbagi people in Kaduna on Sunday, the State Commissioner of Police, Yekini Ayoku, claimed that the death of one Ishaya Karfe, a brother of the village chief of Kakura, was a case of mistaken identification.
He said that robbers attempted to kidnap Karfe, who fought and was killed. According to the CP, the robbers also rustled several cows in a neighbouring Fulani hamlet, and as members of the Kakura vigilante were tracking the criminals, they came across the Fulani community, who were trailing their rustled animals.
He said that the vigilantes assaulted them because they thought the Fulani were bandits, and that it needed the involvement of security officers to save the situation. He confirmed the deaths of three Fulani residents, as well as the hospitalisation of 17 others.
In a separate statement, the District Head of Kujama, Steven Yarima Ibrahim, acknowledged that those bundled into a military vehicle on Sunday were not criminals, but residents of a neighbouring Fulani community who were also victims of a banditry attack.
The district chief stated that vigilante members should refrain from taking laws into their own hands and instead invite security authorities when they notice any abnormality.
Ibrahim Saleh, the Ardo of Gunduma in Chikun LGA, said they had talked to their people to reassure them that what had transpired was a case of mistaken identification, and encouraged them not to take the law into their own hands.