Residents of Sibriso, a village near Kwamekrom in the Biakoye District of the Oti Region are distraught by the alleged killing of a 17-year-old herdsman identified as Sani Mohammed.
The incident which occurred on March 1, 2022, has revived several concerns about the delicate relationship between farmers and herdsmen in the Oti Region.
For about six years now, there have been some bittersweet relationships between farmers and herdsmen in the Oti region over the destruction of farmlands by the herdsmen during grazing. About a year ago, farmers in Nkonya threatened to kill cattle that grazed in their farms. Early this year, unauthorized grazing in Jasikan District was also clamped with the help of the Police. Be that as it may, there still exist some unsavory incidents like the recent shooting and killing of Sani.
How it Happened
Narrating the incident to the media, the father of the deceased, Alhaji Maude said on Tuesday, March 1, Sani took his cattle for grazing early in the morning as he usually does.
After a short while, gunshots were heard in the direction of the boy, thereby attracting neighbours and other farmers in the vicinity.
He was informed and he rushed to the scene. On reaching there they found the young boy lying dead in the bush with blood all over. They also found three of the cattle shot dead, with a fourth one missing.
The Police were subsequently alerted and the body of the deceased was prepared for the ritual Islam burial.
The Father of the deceased described the incident as shocking as his son was grazing within the boundaries of land offered him for gazing by a legitimate landowner. Hence, wondered why Sani would be killed when he had not strayed into someone’s farm or property.
The Assemblyman for Kwamekrom Zongo, Umaru Sanda Ibrahim explained that despite the skirmishes associated with herdsmen and farmers in the Oti region, Kwamekrom in particular have had an innovative way of dealing with the situation. He said although herdsmen are given grazing areas,if the cattle stray into farms, the destruction caused is assessed and farmers are duly compensated.
Hence, it was unlikely to have farmers in Kwamekrom attack cattle or herdsmen over cattle invasion, except the perpetrators were not residents of the area.
The Zabrama and Fulani Chief at Kwamekrom also suspected foul play saying, there have been times when nomads who did not live in the area had invaded farms, yet the herdsmen in Kwamekrom put resources together to compensate the aggrieved farmers. Secondly, the missing cattle seemed to him like an attempted theft gone wrong.
The Worawora Divisional Commander, Supt. Simon Amenu assured that a thorough investigation will be conducted to get to the bottom of the crime.
The District Chief Executive, Millicent Kabuki Carbo urged residents, including the herdsmen not to take the laws into their own hands but should cooperate with the Police to arrest the culprits of the crime.