Outrage from Nigerians have followed the fresh attacks on Southern Kaduna communities despite a 24-hour curfew imposed by the Kaduna State government.
Southern Kaduna Peoples Union Saturday said 63 people had been killed in the past one week by suspected Fulani militia.
The latest killings were reportedly carried out around 7am on Saturday when some suspected Fulani militiamen attacked three communities in Jema’a and Kaura local government areas of Kaduna State and killed at least nine people.
Eleven people were said to have sustained varying degrees of injuries during the attack. Several houses were also reportedly razed during the attacks.
The three communities attacked were Zikpak and Ungwan Masara (Fantsuam Chiefdom), both in Jema’a Local Government Area as well as Maraban Kagoro, in Kaura Local Government Area.
According to the spokesperson for SOKAPU, Luka Binniyat, no fewer than 50 gunmen invaded Zikpak and started shooting repeatedly.
After attacking Zikpak, the gunmen reportedly headed for Ungwan Masara and Maraban Kagoro, where they also carried out further attacks.
Watchers say some parties to the perennial ethnic disputes in Nigeria are known to circulate photos of old attacks to gain an advantage but some of the voices who spoke against the latest attacks on social media claimed first-hand knowledge of the attacks. A popular musician, Joel Amadi, said herdsmen shot his father dead in Zikpak.
Speaking with Sunday PUNCH, the spokesperson for SOKAPU, Binniyat, said “They attacked Zipkak again by 7am (Saturday). They killed the wife of the Agwam Musa Didam of Fanstwam Chiefdom and burnt his house. The dead toll yesterday (Friday) was nine.
“A 24-hour curfew was imposed by (Governor Nasir) el-Rufai yesterday (Friday) and this morning (Saturday), the militiamen returned by 7am during the curfew and the village is now under attack as we speak. Zipkak is on the outskirts of Kafanchan and is the headquarters of the Fanstwam people.”
When contacted, the Kaduna State Police Command’s Public Relations Officer, Mohammed Jalige, said he had yet to learn of the attacks but would find out.
“I am aware of the imposition of the curfew yesterday (Friday) by His Excellency but on this one (attacks), let me find out and I will get back to you,” he said.
Saturday’s attacks came barely 24 hours after those that the victims described as suspected Fulani militia reportedly invaded Agwala Magayaki of Doka Avong in Kajuru Local Government Area of the state, killing seven persons, including an 85-year-old man. Some locals were declared missing while several houses were torched.
The attacks were fifth in the series of recent attacks ascribed to suspected Fulani militia on Southern Kaduna communities.
Recently, gunmen invaded Kukum-Daji village in Kaura Local Government Area and killed no fewer than 21 people, mostly youths, at a wedding.
In another attack that took place last Monday in Gora Gan in Zangon Kataf Local Government Area, 10 people were killed, while on Wednesday, five people were killed in an attack on Kizachi-Chawai community, Kauru Local Government Area.
The state governor, had on Thursday night imposed a 24-hour curfew on the flashpoints in Southern Kaduna. On Friday night, he extended the 24-hour-curfew to Jema’a and Kaura local government areas.
El-Rufai, who stated this via a tweet, said at the request of security agencies, the Kaduna State Government “has extended to Jema’a and Kaura local government areas the 24-hour curfew that is in force in Kauru and Zangon Kataf local government areas to help contain violence, restore law and order in the area.”
However, expressing outrage over the latest attacks, SOKAPU said they reinforced the agitation for regional security outfits like the Amotekun security agency in the South-West.
In an interview PUNCH, the President of SOKAPU and a former member of the House of Representatives, Jonathan Asake, also condemned a statement by presidential spokesperson, Mallam Garba Shehu, that the killings in Southern Kaduna were politically-motivated and orchestrated by criminal gangs.
“From available security records, the problem in Southern Kaduna is an evil combination of politically-motivated killings and mutual violence by criminal gangs acting on ethnic and religious grounds,” Shehu had said.
But Asake said the fact that Kaduna State government did not respond to Shehu’s statement suggested complicity in the killings.
He said, “The killings will not end. Did you see the statement by the Presidency issued by Garba Shehu? That statement only shows the conspiracy against our people at the highest level because what Garba Shehu said is a reflection of the thinking of Kaduna State government.
“Some people are acting as if they are the owners of Nigeria. When people are being killed, they make statements that don’t hold water.
“The anger and call for regional police system is everywhere now with this recent killing more than ever before. The recent killings has reinforced agitation for regional police in Southern Kaduna.”
Asked if the union would meet with the governor to find an end to the killings, Asake said it wouldn’t resolve anything because the state had no governor.
“We are not meeting any governor. We don’t have a governor in Kaduna State but we have a hater; we have somebody who hates the people of Southern Kaduna for nothing. So meeting him will not change anything,” he said.