Kaduna State governor Mallam Nasir Elrufai said communal crises persist in the Christian dominated southern part of the state because criminal activities are given ethnic and religious colouration.
El-rufai stated this at a state-wide media chat on Thursday night in Kaduna.
According to the governor, insecurity in the state is being perpetrated by criminal elements who have been killing, kidnapping people and rustling cattle in the entire North-west region. “….Activities of the bandits were being coated as ethnic and religious when they occur in the southern part of the state….this tends to exacerbate communal tensions and pitch people who have lived peacefully together against each other.”
“Attacks by bandits are not localised to any part of the state.” El-rufai said.
He added that the state government had taken steps to secure the southern part of the state, including ensuring that a military base and two mobile police squadrons were located there, answering a decades-long demand for enhanced security presence in the area.
To buttress his point the governor insist that the attackers do only attack Christians alone. “These criminals attack people irrespective of their religion or ethnicity and they have been perpetrating their reign of terror in Giwa, Birnin Gwari and parts of Igabi local government.’’
According to him, the bandits operate mostly in Katsina, Zamfara and Niger states where he noted that their attacks are often seen and reported as criminal activities.
The governor said when bandits attack in southern Kaduna, security reports show that youth from the affected communities often responded by mobilising to attack Fulani communities in their area whose members share the same ethnicity with the presumed bandits, even though many Fulani communities are also victims of the bandits in Kaduna State and elsewhere.
He said the problem is worsened by the response of Fulani communities who often resort to self-help when they are attacked instead of reporting to the traditional authorities and security agencies. “This is how the cycle of attacks, revenge and reprisals occur in southern Kaduna,’’ he said.
The governor, who expressed his sadness at the killings, said the community leaders need to emphasise adherence to the rule of law, to avoid the persistence of attacks and reprisals.
He explained why the state government imposed a 24-hour curfew in Zangon Kataf and Kauru local government areas on June 11.
He said it followed the discovery in Zangon Kataf of the corpse of a man from Kauru who was resident in Zangon Kataf. He said subsequently, some youth barricaded roads and burnt a vehicle with its occupants and that security agencies had to use force to disperse them from the highway.