The Southern Kaduna Peoples Union has said that contrary to the claim by the police, 33 persons were on Wednesday and Thursday killed by Fulani militia in some villages in Zango Kataf Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
The Kaduna State Police Command had claimed that 21 natives of the area lost their lives during the attack by the bandits.
The affected communities are identified as Apyia’Shyim, A’Piako, Atak’Mawei, and Kibori, all in Atyap Chiefdom of Zangon Kataf LGA.
Speaking on the fresh killings, the National Public Relations Officer of the SOKAPU, Mr. Luka Binniyat, said in a statement titled, ‘33 killed in Zango Kataf in Kaduna on Thursday’ that prior to the attack, there was intensive patrol and the security personnel enforced the 24-hour curfew, but sadly, “when the gunmen struck, they were not on the ground.”
Binniyat added that the attackers operated between 11pm and 4am this morning before they left unchallenged.
The statement read in part, “Last night, 33 Atyap natives, who were among hundreds of thousands of already starving indigenes under a 24-hour rigidly imposed curfew that was 65 days yesterday, were killed in five Atyap villages in Atyap Chiefdom, Zango Kataf LGA in southern part of Kaduna State by Fulani militia.
“Last night, around 11pm, truckloads of armed Fulani militia made their way through military checkpoints under the curfew and stormed Apiashyim and Kibori villages. They laid siege to Apyaishyim, killing, looting and burning houses. In the wake of the cruelty, they left six people dead, and 20 houses burnt.”
“In nearby Kibori village, seven persons were killed by the marauding, pampered Fulani militia. Around 12am, they struck Atakmawei sleeping community and carried out another carnage after which 12 persons were killed and 10 houses burnt.
“In Apiako, scared villagers who hid under grown maize crops, said they saw what looked like an armoured military truck pulled up at the village square, followed by familiar military motor bikes. While the attackers were busy killing, no attempt was made to stop them.”
SOKAPU further alleged that the Fulani militia (attackers) included Fulani youths born and raised in the affected villages, according to survivors account.
But the state Police Command’s Public Relations Officer, Mohammed Jalige, told newsmen on the phone that 21 persons were killed during the attack on Wednesday night.
Jalige disclosed that more policemen had been deployed to the affected communities to forestall further attacks, adding that three persons were injured.
Jalige said, “Yes, There was an attack on some communities around Zango Kataf area. It took place yesterday (Wednesday), where some lives were lost and a few people were injured. About 21 persons lost their lives and three persons were injured.”
On SOKAPU’s claim that no fewer than 33 lives were lost, the police spokesman said, “Well, I don’t know where they got their own numbers from. You know I have not been there; I only got information from our representatives; our officers that are there.”
Speaking on insecurity in the area, a political economist and former presidential candidate, Prof. Pat Utomi, said the Federal and Kaduna State Governments needed political will to end the killings in Southern Kaduna.
Utomi said this on Tuesday in Lagos when members of the Ndigbo Lagos visited the Lagos branch of the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union to commiserate with them on the Southern Kaduna crisis. Ndigbo Lagos is the umbrella body of Igbo living in Lagos.
“Politically-negotiated conclusions of whatever the issues are will solve the problem. There must be political will on the part of the Kaduna State Government and the Federal Government,” Utomi said.
Meanwhile, In Katsina State, some angry youths from Turare, Marke and Dogon Ruwa villages in Dutsin-ma Local Government Area of the State, early Thursday morning, blocked Dutsin-ma – Kankara highway, in protest against alleged banditry in their communities.
A combined team of police and other security operatives later restored normalcy on the highway, after clearing the debris the protesting youths used in mounting the roadblock.
During the protest, one of the youths, who pleaded anonymity, said, “We are tired of activities of the bandits in our communities. We blocked the highway to show our displeasure over insecurity here; we want the authorities to be aware of our plight and come to our rescue.”
No arrest was made in connection with the incident.
But authorities of the Federal University, Dutsin-ma, directed its staff to stop going to the main campus of the institution located in the area as a result of the situation until further notice.
Although normalcy has returned to the area, the university, in a statement issued on Thursday by its Acting Director, Public Relations and Protocols, Habibu Matazu, gave the directive on behalf of the Vice Chancellor, Professor Armaya’u Bichi.