Protest rocks Abuja over Kajuru killings

The hundreds of Southern Kaduna indigenes has stormed Abuja the nation’s capital for the mass protest over the incessant and gruesome killings of their members in Kajuru Local Government Area (LGA) by persons suspected to be herdsmen.

A coalition of groups at the vanguard to end the spate of killings in Kajuru, a local government in Kaduna State, staged a peaceful rally at the Unity Fountain, Abuja, amid reported harassment of participants, who travelled from Kaduna to Abuja for the outing.

Speaking during the rally, Rev. Fr. Williams Kaura Abba, coordinator of Coalition Against Kajuru Killings (CAKK), said that the world must know about the killings in Kajuru and urged men of good will to prevail on the Governor Nasir el-Rufai and the Federal Government to take more than a passing interest in the welfare of the people affected by the carnage, allegedly wrought by militia herdsmen.

Newsmen also gathered that the participants, who travelled into Abuja from Kaduna were harassed by men believed to be from the Department of State Services (DSS) after some of the leaders of the coalition got messages from security sources stating that anybody wearing dark a T-shirt meant to be worn at the rally and travelling in from Kaduna must be stopped.

Abba stated that the killings in Kajuri had taken a severe toll on the people in the locality. The latest death toll of this carnage, according to CAKK, has surpassed 130.

“Several communities have been reduced to rubble, and setting the stage for a major humanitarian crisis that has so far displaced no fewer than 10,000 persons now living in four camps,” explained the reverend father.

“We are saddened by events in our dear state, Kaduna; we have gathered here in Abuja, our nation’s capital, to bring to the attention of fellow citizens and the international community the horrendous attacks on many Adara communities in Kajuru Local Government Area of Kaduna State by herdsmen militia,” added Abba.

Also at the venue, Solomon Musa, national president, Southern Kaduna Progressives Union (SOKAPU), confirmed report that there alleged attempt by security agencies to scuttle the rally. “We had to make contingency plans, asking our members to travel separately and wear mufti on their way into the FCT,” explained.

At the Abuja venue of the rally, a DSS operative, who introduced himself as ‘Mr Anthony’, accosted some participants, asking what the rally was all about. When he was told the purpose of the gathering, the operative warned that the gathering must not exceed the Unity Fountain vicinity. When newsmen asked if his agency wasn’t aware of attempt at arresting members of the coalition traveling in from Kaduna and wearing black, the operative claimed that he wasn’t aware of such development.

Kajuru killings began on February 10 2019 when men believed to be herdsmen militia, allegedly attacked Ungwar Barde in Maro ward of Kajuru. In the said attack, 10 persons, including a pregnant woman, were killed.

However, el-Rufai and the state government were silent on the killings but to the consternation of many within and without Kaduna, the state governor, five days after the attack, on February 15, 2019, on national television disclosed that security agencies had recovered bodies of 66 Fulani killed by Adara people. He was later to increase the death toll to 130.

“The governor’s allegations over killings of Fulani is still an allegation that is yet to be proven, as he has neither shown the world the pictures of recovered Fulani corpses nor commenced investigation to prove his allegation. The Kaduna State Police commissioner recently debunked the death toll as announced by the governor, insisting that investigation into Fulani killings is still at ‘embryonic stage,’ explained Abba.

The coalition alleged that the allegation by El-Rufai over killings of Fulani set the stage for reprisal killings and weaved the labyrinth of insecurity over the besieged Adara communities.

“Within the space of one month, we have been horror-stricken at the barbaric attacks carried out by these merchants of death against children, men, women, including the aged. Communities have been reduced to rubbles and insecurity now stalks these towns and villages unchallenged,” added the coordinator of CAKK.

“We call on fellow Nigerians and the international community to mount pressure on the Nigerian government to come to our aid by ending the genocide that is rippling across Adara communities and other areas of Southern Kaduna where there is a resurgence of violence, such as Gerti and Sanga where no fewer than 12 persons have been killed by these rampaging herdsmen. Most disturbingly is the fact that while Adara Nation mourns, Governor El-Rufai rounded up and put in jail Adara leaders and elder statesmen, including the Waziri Adara, who’s next in the line of seniority in Adara chiefdom on phantom charges,” stated CAKK coordinator.

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