Last week, when many thought that the crisis that erupted in several communities in Kajuru and adjoining local government areas in Kaduna State had ceased, armed men attacked Ungwan Barde village on Sunday, killing 17 people and setting many houses ablaze.
The following day, Monday, two villages – Inkirimi and Dogonnoma in Maro – were attacked in the morning and many persons lost their lives. In the evening of that day, there was another attack at Ungwan Gora (Labi village), which left many people injured and 43 houses burnt.
The latest attacks came after two weeks of an attack on Karamai, which left many people dead. Prior to that, in the second week of February, 11 people were killed in Ungwan Barde, and the following day, eight settlements were attacked and 131 people were said to have been killed.
Following the attacks, the Kaduna State Government imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew on the entire Kajuru and parts of Chikun Local Government Area, saying it would last till further notice.
In addition to the curfew, the state government directed security agencies to ensure peace and appealed to all residents in the affected areas to cooperate with them.
The Kaduna State police command confirmed that on Sunday, March 10, 2019, at 7:30am, some armed men entered Barde village and started shooting sporadically, an action that resulted to the death of 16 persons.
According to a statement signed by the public relations officer of the command, DSP Yakubu Sabo, the commissioner of police in the state, Ahmad Abdurrahman, has vowed to uncover the masterminds of the dastardly act and bring them to justice. He appealed for calm, saying that investigation was ongoing.
He said, “On the receipt of the information, the command mobilised teams of police operatives to the area, led by the divisional police officer in Kajuru, alongside military personnel, with a view to apprehending the perpetrators and to bringing normalcy to the area. The operation is still ongoing and the situation has been brought under control.
“The attacks are ethnic in nature, with the Adara ethnic group on one side and the Fulani, and sometimes, the Hausa on the other side. The latest ones, however, have been mainly tit-for-tat killings between two sides, with each side claiming reprisals for the killings of its members.’’
The assistant national secretary of the Adara Development Association, Luke Waziri, a lawyer, blamed the reoccurrence of the attacks on the inability of the government and security agencies to bring those behind the attacks to book.
He said in a statement that, “In all these, not a single person has been arrested nor even questioned. This is despite the fact that all the attacks took place either in the morning or in the evening in full glare of everyone. The terrorists come in their hundreds, take time to kill and leave without anyone being apprehended by security agents.
“The victims, whose relatives have been killed and brutalised, are the ones being arrested and thrown into prison while the real killers are being pampered, supported and allowed to freely continue their onslaught on people and our land.’’
When contacted, state chairman of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), Haruna Usman Tugga, said he would not speak on the cause of the crisis because people were already aware of the problem.
He said the MACBAN was engaging village and district heads in a dialogue, with a view to ensuring that peace returns in the area.
“All we have done, with respect to Kajuru crisis, is to call the attention of the people not to take laws into their own hands. We do not have anything more than that to say because everybody knows what is happening. I do not want to talk too much about Kajuru. It is a complicated issue,” Tugga said.
On what can be done to change the narrative, he said, “The solution is that the aggrieved parties should go on dialogue. We are pursuing the dialogue. We are presently discussing with some of the village and district heads in the area, with a view to solving the problem.”
He appealed to government to assist in championing the dialogue in the interest of peace and unity.
On its part, the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU) said it viewed the attack as a deliberate plot to deal with Adara people.
In a statement by its national public relations officer, Yakubu Kuzamani, the SOKAPU said the utterances of public officials on such attacks may have given room for reprisals.
“As an umbrella organisation representing the 53 ethnic nationalities in southern Kaduna, we are traumatised that the Kaduna State Government can quickly arraign Adara elders over alleged killing of 66 Fulani, an allegation that is still unproven, but cannot arraign those responsible for the killing of 117 Adara natives,” he said.
On the way out of the crisis, the SOKAPU called on President Muhammadu Buhari to declare a state of emergency on the entire local government area in order to stop further attacks.
Kuzamani said, “The SOKAPU calls on men and women of good conscience, as well as the international community, to mount pressure on the Federal Government to end the killings. The union pleads with the Adara nation to continue to maintain peace despite the unjustifiable arrest of their leaders and abolition of their chiefdom.”
In a statement by the chief executive officer of the Kaduna State Peace Commission, Priscilla Anku Kaduna, the state government condemned the latest attacks and urged security agencies to do more to protect the lives and property of citizens.
The commission assured the affected communities and all stakeholders of its commitment to work closely with them in finding lasting solutions to the problem.