…As residents flee areas in droves.
…Says, Igbos, others want to take their corpses home.
by Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna
Southern Kaduna People’s Union (SOKAPU), the socio-cultural umbrella organization of Southern Kaduna natives, has again decried the invasion, attack and killing of 17 persons in Ungwan Wakili, in Atyap Chiefdom, Zangon Kataf LGA of southern part of Kaduna State.
In particular, the Union expressed shock and worry that the security operatives did not make arrest of any of the alleged ‘marauding armed herdsmen’ that carried out the operations for between 8 and 9pm last Saturday, that claimed 17 lives in their area, at the instance.
This was contained in the statement issued and signed by the Union’s spokesman, Mr. Luka Binniyat, and made available to newsmen in Kaduna on Monday.
SOKAPU also lamented thus: “In more than the 200 invasions of communities of Southern Kaduna, in which thousands of lives were wasted and no less than 245 communities displaced all as a result of herdsmen and bandits attacks, no form of assistance has been rendered to survivors by Kaduna State Government.
“As usual, with such invasions, no arrest has been made. Instead, the Chairman of Zangon Kataf LGAs, Mr Francis Zimbo, has slammed a 24 hours’ curfew on Ungwan Wakili and immediate environs.”
The body explained that, 8 persons killed were buried in a mass grave at Ungwan Wakili amidst heightened tension during the weekend, while three more others were buried in three separate compounds in Ungwan Wakili on Monday.
It also stated that, “Families of non-natives of Ungwan Wakili have requested to be allowed to bury their relations in their various home towns in the communities they come from, especially the Igbos.
“Last Saturday, between 8 and 9pm, marauding armed herdsmen lay siege to Ungwan Wakili, in Atyap Chiefdom, Zangon Kataf Local Government Area (LGA), in Southern Kaduna, killing 17 persons and escaping into the night.
“On Monday, women, children, the old and infirmed can be seen leaving Ungwan Wakili, Majuju and neighbouring villages out of fear of more attacks. More IDPs are being generated as a result of these attacks,” it stated.
The Union also expressed regrets that “There is no evidence that any culprit has been arrested and prosecuted since the killing took a turn for the worst, from 2016 till date.
“While SOKAPU condemned, in no small terms, the carnage visited on Ungwan Wakali by enemies of peace and humanity, it called on the international community to help put pressure on both Kaduna and the Federal Government to bring the killers to justice and to provide the IDPs with essential needs.
“We are also calling on our youths to exercise restraint, in the face of these provocations, and give full cooperation to security agents, while keeping vigilance over their communities.”
Earlier, he explained that, “The ever busy Kafanchan-Saminaka Expressway cuts the town into two halves. Because of its accessibility to other parts of the state, Ungwan Wakili has become rather cosmopolitan.”
It further stated that “Earlier on that Saturday, according to reports reaching SOKAPU, herdsmen caused a skirmish at the main checkpoint on the eastern entrance of the village – when they rode provocatively on four motors bikes in pairs in a manner that drew the suspicion of the Mobile Police (Mopol) manning the check point.
“One of the riders was shot on the leg during the altercation and the rest fled on foot, leaving behind their bikes. One Mopol was shot from a stray bullet by his colleague. The retreating herdsmen later cornered an isolated a farmer returning to Ungwan Wakili, pursued him into a harvested yam farm and matcheted him to death.
“As tension became high that Saturday evening, the Mopol were promptly replaced by a contingent of the military, who have an operation camp on the fringe of the village bordering Zangon Kataf Town.
“Though, the signs were very ominous that the killers would return at night, there appeared to be poor vigilance on the part of the villagers and those sent to protect them.
“The herdsmen came around 8pm when most households just had or were preparing super. Rattling gunshots sounds from the southern end of the town took everyone off guard.
“It is rather curious that from that the angle they invaded the village, the checkpoint taken over by the military was not more than 600m away.
“By the time the killers left, 16 persons lay lifeless. One later died of her wounds in the hospital. This brought the dead toll from the invasion to 17 in Ungwan Wakili on Saturday.
“An Igbo woman and her two children were among those killed. Compiling the profiles of the murdered victims is still ongoing, as not all were natives of Ungwan Wakili,” it stated.