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Genocide Going-on in Southern Kaduna …many Christians reportedly killed, houses burnt, properties looted

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Genocide Going-on in Southern Kaduna …many Christians reportedly killed, houses burnt, properties looted

The Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU) has cried out and called on the Federal government and Kaduna State government, including local and international humanitarian organisation and human rights bodies, over the genocide going on at Zagon Kataf Local Government Area of Southern Kaduna State.

According to a release signed by the SOKAPU Spokesman, Luka Binniyat, he said, “for a week now, armed gunmen, identified as Fulani herdsmen by lay siege to several communities in Atyap land, Zangon Kataf Local Government Area (LGA) of Southern Kaduna and left noi less than 33 person dead in an ongoing genocide and land grabbing which 108 Southern Kaduna communities have been displaced and taken over since 2019”.

In the latest development and bloodshed orgy, the invaders stormed Magamiya village, last on Monday night at about 11pm and started shooting sporadically. The family compound of the traditional ruler of Atyap Chiefdom, Agwatyap of Atyap Chiefdom, Sir Dominic Yahaya was attacked. Several blocks of flats and rooms that make up for the family compound of five households were looted and valuables including foodstuffs were carted away into four waiting Hilux vans. The houses were later set ablaze. A relation to the traditional ruler, Mr. Toma Tauna, 70, was also killed by the assailants.

They further went to loot 6 other homes and burnt them leaving one Mathew Pama, 62, dead in the same village.

After about 2 hours of unchallenged murder, looting and arson, the armed herdsmen attempted to burnt down  St. Pious Catholic Church in the village, but help came from other villages and the attackers retreated in their Hilux vans for another village.

Magamiya is about 3km from Zangon Kataf semi-urban town where  combined troops of soldiers and other security men are completely camped with patrol vehicles and armoured tanks.

The same assailants returned and passed besides Zango Kataf town and drove 5km west of the town to attack three other villages early on Tuesday (13/7/2021) at about 1:30 am. In the attack, all 156 homes made up of Matyei were  burnt down. The Catholic Church in Matei and its pastorium were burnt, while the Catechist, known as Catechist Yau, and an infant, were also killed in the attack. Total numbers of 8 people were killed on Monday (12/7/2021) night at Matyei in an attack that lasted for over an hour. 

The armed Fulani herdsmen later drove down to Abuyab Community, another community of about 500 metres and burnt the ECWA Church Abuyab with the home of former ECOMOG Field Commander, Maj. Gen. Shekari Billyok (rtd) and 11 other homes. Their attempt to attack Runji Community, nearby, was repelled by villagers who got reinforcement elsewhere.

As they retreated, they attempted to destroy the main bridge linking Matyei and Zangon Kataf town with other Atyap Communities, but were nearly succeeded.

On Monday, before the night attack took place, the same armed herdsmen came in Hilux vans and attacked the Atyap of Makarau and Kachechere Communities leaving 10 people dead with 12 houses burnt after looting them.

The ECWA and the Anglican Church pastoriums that serve the communities were also ablaze.

Meanwhile, between Monday afternoon and morning of Tuesday, 13 July, 2021, 20 Atyap indigene have been killed by the attackers who the villagers saw and identified as armed herdsmen.

Similarly, on Sunday, 11th Warkan Community, about 7 km east of Matyei, came under attack by armed herdsmen, leaving 8 people dead. The village was looted and animals were rustled before the invaders burnt down 11 houses.

Some days earlier, one Timothy Ayok, 35, of Makarau village was returning from his farm in the afternoon, when he was ambushed and dastardly killed by the armed herdsmen. 

Also, at Kibori village, about 1km from Zangon Kataf town, a widow, Mrs. Esther Patrick, 65 and her family of three were wiped out, including her 6 year old grandchild, Yerima Godfrey. 

Within one week now, not more than 33 Atyap natives of Zangon Kataf Area have been massacred, 4 churches and 215 houses burnt down by assailants identified as armed herdsmen in a genocidal campaign that has become incessant since 2016. 

Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU) condemned this wicked act and the complicit silence with in- action of the government for not taking necessary steps to bring the perpetrators and their leaders to justice.

Atyap members of SOKAPU have consistently accused the Hausa settlers of Zangon Kataf semi urban town of harbouring killer herdsmen, yet the authority has not done anything about this.

Early this year, in March, some Fulani squatters on Atyap land complained that their cattle and sheep were killed by Atyap persons.

In a swift move, 15 Atyap leaders from 4 indicted communities were arrested by troops, detained for days before handing over to Kaduna State Police Command Headquarters for prosecution.

The police alleged that the Atyap leaders, among them 85 years old Waje Laah, killed 706 Fulani cows and 75 rams in one day and buried them in a ditch the same day, which was an impossible task to accomplish. They were held in detention for three months without trial and only released on bail some days ago.

Already, more than 100 Atyap indigenes have been killed and about 24 Atyap villages burnt with many rendered homeless and hundreds of hectares of farmland bearing growing food crops destroyed by Fulani cows since July 2020 and no single Fulani leader has been invited for questioning despite complaints.

The Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU) called NEMA, SEMA and other humanitarian organisation to come to their aid and provide immediate relief and support materials to thousands of displaced Atyap women and children who are homeless and moving to various places around Samaru Kataf, Zonkwa and environs.

The release also call on the Nigerian Human Rights Commission, Amnesty International, United Nations and all relevant international humanitarian organisation, including the local NGOs and Human Right groups to pressurised the Federal and Kaduna State Governments to stop the genocide in Atyap land and bring the culprits to justice.