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Blow-by-blow account of Southern Kaduna killings

…Analysis of 20 months of killing spree; 

…With at least N400m paid as ransom paid – CAN. 

As the onslaught on the Southern Kaduna minorities continues unabated, with 33 persons massacred in early August, 2020, our correspondent, Achadu Gabriel, chronicled the pathetic stories of attacks, kidnapping and killings across the zone, between January and August 2019 and in 2020, culminating into twenty months. Excerpts:

For instance, on 1st January, 2019, being New Year, not less than 200 motor bikes, each pair with arms, shared themselves and attacked some Gbagyi villages in Chikun local government area, LGA, close to Niger State.

This was followed closely with Tawali Village, where six persons were kidnapped after the ECWA Church in the village was set ablaze, with no knowledge of the wellbeing of the victims hitherto. 

In Kuduru Village, one Ezra Bala (16yrs), a student of Government Day Secondary School, Koi, was also killed. In all the affected villages, foodstuffs, cows, goats, sheep as well as motorcycles were carted away.

On the 4th January, 2020, Zoko Yako, Sabon Gida Katarma and Unguwan Sarki were invaded and the natives expelled, according to the statements separately issued and signed by Southern Kaduna People’s Union (SOKAPU) president, Hon. Jonathan Asake, and its national public relations officer, Mr Luka Binniyat, respectively.

The beleaguered victims have reportedly found their way to Sarkin Pawa Town, in Niger State, trekking for days and crossing by canoe to their Gbagyi neighbors in Niger State.

On the 5th of January, 2020, Bwadana, in Kwayipe, all in Chikun local government area, LGA, of Kaduna state, bordering Niger State, were attacked. In Kwayipe, one person, whose name was given as Dimas, was shot but escaped with fatal injuries.

6th January, 2020: Kasso, a peaceful Gbagyi community in Chikun LGA, on its eastern boundary with Kajuru LGA, was again raided by these invading terrorists. 

In that attack, Mr Yusuf Sule (39yrs) and his family were hard hit. The bandits killed his younger brother, Eli Sule (35), a father of five, Danjuma Bulus (30), a father of four, his cousin, Istifanus Auta (31), a father of three children. Also, his wife, Ladi Yusuf, a nursing mother was abducted with her six months’ old baby. His younger brother, Bulus Sule, and his wife, Rebecca Sule, were also kidnapped.

On the 8th January, 2020, Badna, Guruku Ward, still in Chikun LGA of another Gbagyi community, 40 people were kidnapped in one fell swoop around the same time. Rev Samaila Yusuf of the local Baptist Church was among the victims. Till date, the fate of the victims is yet unknown.

About the same time, bandits raided Rumana Gbagyi and Rumana Hausa, where they looted the villages and carted away livestock and other valuables. Still in Guruku Ward, a community called Bademi was ransacked and looted. One Idi Halidu was killed and two people kidnapped. 

Again, 8th January: The invaders struck at Ungwan Buji and killed one Sani Buji. In a display of brazen impunity, they kidnapped 15 people and vanished into the bushes with them. In nearby Maloma community, the invaders robbed and ransacked the village and burnt a large quantity of rice and other grains before disappearing into the unknown. All these happened in a span of four days without any response from any security agency.

According to SOKAPU source, at least 35 people were reportedly killed during these raids. We are yet to get their details.

Still on the 8th January, Good Shepherd Catholic Seminary, Buwaya, in Chikun LGA, was raided by armed herdsmen, and four students were kidnapped. Three weeks later, Brother Nnadi Micheal, 18, was killed, while the three were freed after a ransom was paid.

On the 22nd January, 2020, Katuga Village in Chikun LGA was invaded and 8 persons were kidnapped. On the 24 January, Jujji Village, an outskirt of Sabo, in Chikun LGA was attacked. The marauders kidnapped the wife of a prominent medical doctor, Dr. Ataga, with her three kids, all below 10. On the 1st February, 2020, her corpse was found dumped by the road side. The kidnappers, who had earlier asked for N150 million, later scaled down to N25 million “if the three kids must be returned alive.”

Recalled that the invasions and kidnapping happened on daily basis. Only those reported to SOKAPU were, however, documented.

In the eastern part of Chikun LGA, 27 schools were shut and all the churches, around 65, have been shut down, too.

Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, said that in the past one year, a ransom of over N400 million has been paid to kidnappers by these impoverished societies.   

On 13th February, 2020, armed militia men stormed an open market In Maro Village in Kajuru LGA and killed eight people, while inflicting injuries on several others.

It was yet another story of bloodshed for Kurmi community in Chikun LGA when on 29th February, 2020, invaders stormed the community and burnt down no fewer than 25 houses, two churches and the entire food barns belonging to the community.

On 1st March, 2020, another gang of terrorists stormed Matsirga Village in Zangon-Kataf local government area where they killed two persons and mortally wounded five others. These vicious attacks, among others, are only some of the reported cases, according to SOKAPU.

On the 23rd April, 2020, also, armed Fulani militia attacked Kujeni Village in the Kajuru LGA in broad daytime, and one Geoffrey Zakka, (25) was killed. One woman and a child were injured and more than 25 houses burnt down. The ECWA church in the town and its pastorium were also completely razed down.

On the 25th April, 2020, five people confirmed killed, some kidnapped, some sustained injuries, cattle taken away, cars and many other valuable such as properties burnt down in the evening as a result of an attack by unknown gunmen at Damba Kasaya.

Those killed are: Audu Lawal Samaila , 61, Elisha Nyako, 70, and  Danjuma Sale, 45.

The rest are: Lado Alkali, 36, and Luka Zakwai, 45. Till date, the murderers are roaming about freely.

All the villagers, numbering over a thousand, are now taking refuge with relations in nearby towns under tough conditions in this grim period of coronavirus lockdown.

Meanwhile, three Adara youths were also reportedly killed by persons fully kitted in army uniform in cohort with armed herdsmen. After the attack, 12 Adara youths were also taken away, while a few managed to escape.

Adara youths from different villages had coordinated themselves into a vigilante group to guard their villages the day armed herdsmen wrought destruction and deaths on Kujeni Village, Kajuru LGA, on 23rd April, 2020.

They were attacked on the outskirt of Kujeni by a band of men fully dressed in army uniform and also well armed. Among them were equally armed herdsmen, who where herding away some cattle probably rustled from somewhere.

As the overpowered youths made bids to escape, some were rounded up and herded into the vast forest.

Till date,no one has any information about their conditions. No one is sure, if they are dead or alive and in what condition.

On 28th May, 2020, less than five hours after Kaduna State Commissioner of Internal Security and Homes Affairs, Mr Samuel Aruwan, held a stakeholders’ meeting in Kajuru Town between Adara leaders and their Fulani settlers, among others, where the commissioner threatening to “deal with any violent group,” Fulani militia invaded Kikwari community in broad daylight.

In the process, three persons were killed and the ECWA church in the community razed down by the alleged Fulani Muslim militia.

In Ungwan Magaji, Chawai Chiedom of Kauru LGA, Fulani militia came down from surrounding hills and unleashed havoc on the peaceful community on 20th April, 2020, killing five persons and burning down 36 houses, including a the only Catholic Church in the community.

In Atakad Chiefdom, Fulani herdsmen, under the protection of their militia took over Zangan District in Kaura LGA. All eight communities with about 8,000 populations are now IDPs with relations in adjoining towns and villages.

Galiwyi community in Chikun LGA equally came under invasion by herdsmen militia, who chased away the men and turned their wives and daughters into sex slaves after occupying the community. This impunity lasted a week a fortnight ago, without any intervention from the authorities.

Similarly, in the recent past, many communities have suffered attacks like Chawai community in Kauru LGA, Atakad community in Kaura LGA and another community in Sanga.

A defenceless community in Kajuru local government area came under assault from Fulani herdsmen militia. The following day, the attackers extended their murderous expedition to Bakin Kogi where residents had fled the town. They burnt down the town and launched another assault on another village, Idanu. In the early hours of Wednesday, the murderous gang of terrorists moved to Makyali where several persons were killed. In Agwala Village, an old lady was mercilessly hacked to death. 

In total, these attacks have so far claimed 27 lives within 48 hours, while the injured have been taken to various medical facilities for attention. Efele, Ungwan Modi and Ungwan Rana villages were also attacked and hundreds of residents displaced.

Between 18th to 24th May, 2020, 30 persons were killed in Idon ward of Kajuru LGA. The villagers were from the following villages: Magunguna, Idazo, Ungwan Galadima, Ungwan Guza, Etissi, Ungwan Maaji, Ungwan Cantata, Ungwan Araha 1, Ungwan Araha 2, Ungwan Goshi, Ungwan Shaban, Ungwan Jibo, Ungwan Maijama’a, Ungwan Sako, Ungwan Maidoki, Ungwan Masaba, Libere and Mashigin Boka.

Fulani residents of these communities became hosts to strange Fulani, who rode in on scores of motorbikes on the 18th May. Despite assurances by the local Fulani to their long time Adara hosts, that, the unfriendly-looking guests meant no harm to them, it turned to be a ruse.

Around 5am, 3rd June, 2020, armed Fulani militia sneaked into Agwalla Magayaki and Tudun Agwalla in Idon ward, Kajuru LGA in Southern Kaduna, burning down homes, looting and leaving behind 9 corpses. They are: Kefas Yusuf, 30, married with 3 children; Richard Yusuf, 25; Fidelis Wada, 40, left behind two wives and 4 children; Kachia Simon, 30, father of 3, and Rose Soja, 39, mother 3 children.

Others are: Genesis Soja, 11; Rahap Soja, 9; Victoria Gyata, 50, mother of 5 and Lovette Akayi, 10. Victoria Soja was killed with her two children, Genesis and Rahab.

On 25th July, 2020, around 6am, the grieving Fanstwam natives of Zipkak, a semi-urban town in Fanstwam Chiefdom, Jema’a LGA in Southern Kaduna, were once again forced to flee for dear lives after armed Fulani militia sprang from nearby bushes and started shooting.

Fortunately, the youths of the community resisted the invaders and they fled back without any harm to the distraught natives, who were grieving the killing of 10 members of the town slained the previous evening. “The militia had crept into the town around 7pm Friday, 24th July, 2020, and rained bullets on the peaceful community,” SOKAPU release further stated. 

Though, Zikpak is just about two kilometers from the heart of Kafanchan where there are presence of some soldiers, the violent group, nevertheless, had a field day.

After looting and vandalizing the town, they burnt part of it and gruesomely murdered Joel Cephas, 5 yrs, Kingsley Raphael, 28, Katung Kantiock, 60, Luka Garba, 75, Victor Ishaya, 22, Madam Dakaci, 52, Kuyet Yayock, 25, Cecelia Audu, 65, Martina Dauda, 70, and Yanasan Dauda, 70, respectively.

Many others were fatally wounded, including Mrs Jonathan Ishaya, Martins Agang, Kassan Duniya and Jenifer Nicodemus. Immediately thereafter, the governor of Kaduna state immediately imposed a 24-hour curfew over the entire Jema’a LGA.

It was under the ‘curfew’ that the Fulani militia returned to wreck more havoc until the valiant youths of the community, with very crude weapons, repelled the cowards.

Also, as it rained around 8pm, Thursday of 23rd July, 2020, at Agwala Magayaki of Doka Avong, Kajuru LGA in Southern Kaduna, armed Fulani militia took advantage of the darkness and torrential rain and attacked the village for the second time in a month, leaving 6 persons dead and two fatally wounded.

Those killed in Kajuru were: John Mallam, 80; Albarka Mallam, 85; Jumare Sule, 76. The rest are: Hannatu Garba, 55; Thaddaeus Albarka, 32; Livinus Danmori, 52, and 

Daniel Mukadas, 70. The fatally injured are Danmori Sule and Alheri Mandela. 

It could also be recalled that, on the 20th June, 2020, the same village was invaded by the Fulani militia, some known by the villagers, and 7 persons were killed. On the 22nd July, 2020, as it rained on Kizachi-Chawai, a far remote village bounded by hills in Chawai chiefdom, Kauru LGA in Southern Kaduna, Fulani militia broke into homes and attacked villagers with knives, daggers and machetes. 

In the heinous process, people were killed. In the incident, Kefas Monday, 17yrs, Lydia Monday, 14yrs, Jummai, 9yrs, Giwa Thomas, 14yrs, Livinus Yohanna, 27yrs, Monday Ibrahim, 45, and Alheri Dauda, 13, were seriously injured.

These bring to a total of 23 armless, harmless Southern Kaduna natives killed by Fulani within another 72 hours at that time.

On 5th August, 2020, around 11pm, truck-loads of armed Fulani militia made their way through military check-points under the ‘curfew’ and stormed Apiashyim and Kibori villages. They lay siege to Apyaishyim, killing, looting and burning houses. In the wake of the cruelty, they left six people dead and 20 houses burnt.

In nearby Kibori Village, 7 persons were killed by the marauding, “pampered” Fulani militia. Around 12am, they struck Atakmawei sleeping community and carried out another carnage after which 12 persons were killed and ten houses burnt.

They also went to Apyiako and killed 3 persons and burnt homes, including the home of late Col. Bobai Ishaku, among others. At the same time, Magamiya Village was also attacked and 5 people killed and seven houses burnt.

Also, in the collections of release signed by the spokesman of Southern Kaduna People’s Union, SOKAPU, Mr Luka Binniyat, the Union further lamented that, “The attackers operated between 11pm and 4am in morning before they left unchallenged. A total number of deaths were 33, being the latest attacks in southern Kaduna.”

According to the spokesman of SOKAPU, “To our knowledge, no Kaduna state government financial assistance or support made to those on treatment in hospitals with bullet injuries as a result of attacks or relief materials sent to the internally-displaced persons’ (IDP) camps due to the attacks. 

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