“Marauding Fulani herdsmen and other unchecked terrorist groups have continued to wreak havoc on defenseless villagers, killing at least 345 people in Southern Kaduna since January 2022”.
A fresh wave of deadly attacks in the southern part of Kaduna State has led to the death of local residents of Ungwan Wakili community in Zango Kataf Local Government Area (LGA) of the state.
The cycle of killings and abduction in the region which has spanned years has been linked to politically motivated banditry, revenge killings, and mutual violence by criminal gangs acting on ethnic and religious differences.
TheNewsGuru.com (TNG) reported that a young boy rearing his animals in the bush was killed on Tuesday in retaliation to the killing of a local last month.
However, in a revenge attack launched at 08:40 pm on Saturday, Fulani herders allegedly reigned terror on residents of Ungwan Wakili for about 40 minutes unrestrained, Killing at least 17 persons despite the presence of a security base in the community.
Council chairman of Zango Kataf LGA Francis Sani Zimbo, described the attack as barbaric and called for investigations to unravel the perpetrators and bring them to book.
Public Relations Officer of the Police command Mohammed Jalige, confirmed the attack on Sunday without stating the number of casualties and no arrests have been made yet.
“I can confirm that there was an attack, and people were killed, but we are yet to ascertain the exact number of those killed,” Jalige, a superintendent of police said.
Timeline of attacks
Marauding Fulani herdsmen and other unchecked terrorist groups have continued to wreak havoc on defenseless villagers, killing at least 345 people in Southern Kaduna since January 2022.
Last July, the Kaduna state government while giving a security report on violent conflicts in the state disclosed that non-state actors had killed 645 persons within the first half of 2022.
The state’s Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs Samuel Aruwan, noted that about one-third of those killings (234 deaths) took place in Southern Kaduna.
“All of these portend the near-total collapse of the local economy in frontline areas, which is mainly sustained by crop and livestock farming. Residents have been dispossessed of their foremost means of sustenance. Vibrant weekly markets have been disrupted,” Mr Aruwan said.
On 5 June at least 32 people were killed in Ungwan Gamu, Dogon Noma, Ungwan Sarki and Maikori villages in Kajuru LGA when they were attacked by militiamen riding three motorcycles who were reportedly assisted by a white helicopter that fired on those attempting to defend Maikori village.
Two weeks later on June 19, three people were killed and 36 persons, including women and children, were abducted when some gunmen attacked two churches in Roboh community in the same local government.
On 31st August, terrorists reportedly blocked the Birnin-Gwari route to Funtua, in Birnin-Gwari LGA, killing two persons, including a commercial driver, after the General Officer Commanding Taoreed Lagbaja, led troops on an onslaught of terrorists in the area.
In November, 15 farmers were killed by terrorists operating in the three Local Government Areas of the state – Giwa, Birnin-Gwari and Kajuru – which have become hotbeds for attacks.
Over 40 people were killed and an unknown number were abducted in a series of attacks by armed Fulani men last December which also saw the destruction of several homes and properties in the Malagum 1 and Sokwong communities of the Kagoro Chiefdom in Kaura LGA.
Some survivors of the attacks claimed the attackers used cell-phones belonging to some of their murdered victims to threaten more violence on residents of the area.
A cry for help
The Speaker of Kaura LGA Atuk Stephen, pointed out that attacks in the area “have been consistent and multi-dimensional with efforts of the security operatives and government not seen or felt”.
Similarly, the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU) has repeatedly raised the alarm of kidnapping, plundering and invasion of communities in the southern part of Kaduna State, which it attributes to the “embarrassing leadership failures” on the part of Governor Nasir El-Rufai.
SOKAPU has accused the federal and state governments of abandoning residents of southern Kaduna to their fate, even as it criticised relevant security agencies for not doing enough to prevent these incessant attacks or rescue the abductees.
Spokesperson of the Union Luka Binniyat, said: “If El-Rufai has such goodwill towards the people of Kaduna State why has he not approached the Supreme Court to force the Federal government to wipe out the so-called bandits that have taken over a large portion of Kaduna State creating their own government right under his nose?”
“We are yet to see El-Rufai make a case at the Supreme Court forcing the National Emergency Management Agency to give relief materials to the millions of IDPs in Kaduna State.”
The Union urged the governor to prioritise the security and welfare of the people of Kaduna State in order to stem the tide of insecurity.
Collective effort required to secure lives and property – military
The Nigerian military has assured residents of the state that it would continue to do its best to curb the high level of insecurity in the state.
It said contrary to the allegations that the military and other security agents were not doing enough to contain the attacks, it had undertaken several operations to foil more bouts of violence in the state.
“If one or two attacks took place, three were prevented,” an army source told this newspaper.
Meanwhile, the Commander Special Task Force Operation SAFE HAVEN (OPSH) and General Officer Commanding (GOC) 3 Division Nigerian Army (NA) Major General Ibrahim Ali, noted that security was everybody’s business and requires the collective efforts of everyone.
He noted that the constitutional responsibility of security agencies was to protect the lives and properties of citizens which he said is achievable through the support and cooperation of the people.