Sunday, March 16, 2014
LAGOS – Unidentified gunmen have killed nearly 100 people in villages across Nigeria’s northwest Kaduna State since Friday, locals and security officials said.
“The attackers were more than 40. They burnt down our homes and anyone who attempted to escape was shot or lynched,” Nuhu Moses, a resident who escaped from Ugwar Sankwai village unhurt, told Anadolu Agency late Saturday.
The attackers invaded the three villages of Ugwar Sankwai, Ungwar Gata and Chenshyi late Friday when the villagers were fast asleep.
“Over 50 people were killed in my village alone,” said Moses.
“I was lucky to have escaped but not so with our pastor’s wife and kids who were among those butchered by the attackers,” he added.
Residents say 35 and 15 were killed in Ungwar Gata and Chenshyi respectively.
Daniel Anyip, a vice chairman at the Kaura local council, confirmed the incident.
“Our people definitely do not deserve this sort of inhumanity. Well over 100 people were killed in the attacks on our communities,” he told AA.
Anyip said less than 10 houses are still standing in the three villages.
Kaduna police spokesman Aminu Lawan also confirmed the attacks and said an investigation is underway.
Southern Kaduna has been a battleground of ethno-religious and political crises as rival tribal groups struggle over superiority and control over resources.
Dr. John Danfulani, spokesman for the Centrum Initiative for Development and Rights Advocacy, a NGO in the region, said the attacks lasted many hours without the security agents coming to the rescue of the villagers.
“Over 100 innocent Southern Kaduna villagers/peoples were butchered and killed by the assailants with impunity,” he told reporters.
Danfulani blamed the attacks on “suspected Fulani herdsmen”.
The Fulani stock, a tribe found in most part of Nigeria’s north and across Africa, are largely herdsmen who migrate round the year in search of grazing lands for their cattle.
Because they are predominantly Muslims, their clashes with their host communities as they migrate are often draped in religious garb.
The Fulanis have, for their part, repeatedly accused some host communities of killing or stealing their cattle, the Fulani’s economic life wire.
Danfulani accused Kaduna State government of complicity in the killings.
“It is clear that the state government and their agents are only playing politics with the insecurity ravaging Southern Kaduna region,” he said.
“This is gradual genocide and extinction of the people of southern Kaduna,” he claimed.
Ahmed Maiyaki, the spokesman for Kaduna State Governor Mukhtar Yero, branded the attacks as “barbaric and ungodly.”
He reiterated government’s commitment to get to the roots of the murder.
“This ugly situation is unacceptable and we will step up efforts to improve surveillance and curtail future occurrence,” he told reporters.
Copyright © 2014 Anadolu Agency
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