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Southern Kaduna orphans, widows grow, left at the mercy of killers, 38 victims buried amid govt failed promises – Punch Newspapers

Punch Newspapers
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ISRAEL BULUS writes on the repeated attacks on Southern Kaduna communities, where many children  have been orphaned and communities abandoned
Southern Kaduna has over the years become known as an enclave of blood and tears following persistent mass murder of native farmers who always point at armed herdsmen as the culprits.
One of the most recent of such attacks, which observers insisted was unprovoked, occurred on September 26 in Madamai community in the Kaura Local Government Area of the state where 38 people were killed, five injured and 46 houses burnt.
The mass killing of these villagers has been described by long time observers of the carnage as, “senseless and cruel” bloodshed which has continued unabated, causing tens of thousands to become internally displaced persons in their own ancestral land.

Speaking on September 30 at the Government Day Secondary School Mallagun, where at the funeral mass of the  38 people was held, President of the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union, Mr Jonathan Asake, captured the agony and frustration of his people over the incessant attacks.
Asake alleged ethnic cleansing and accused the government of the day of not doing enough to end the mindless killings of innocent people; noting that no fewer than 114 communities had so far been sacked and occupied by the assailants with surviving victims escaping into IDP camps taking nothing with them.
“Southern Kaduna has been suffering from genocide silently, and the authorities have been trying to downplay what the people are going through,” Asake, a former member of the House of Representatives, said.


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“Each time there is killing, the government will always want the victims to be rushed and put in a mass grave so that the news of the crime does not get out there to the public.
“Since I came onboard about two years now as SOKAPU President, there is no night that I don’t receive a call about one killing or the other in our land.
“You hear people crying in the background of such calls, it’s either they are being attacked or are being taken away. That’s the story everyday.
“Children in some communities have been out of schools for the past five years due to the atrocious activities of these terrorists and most of these attacks and displacements go unreported in the media,” he continued.
“And oftentimes when some of the killers are arrested and paraded before the press, you see the video going viral in the social media. That’s all,” he affirmed.
“But after another attack you see the same person being paraded again. So something strange is happening,” Asake posited.
 Also speaking at the funeral service, Gideon Lucas Gwani, Minority Whip of the House of Representatives, who represents Kaura Federal Constituency, noted that lessons must be drawn from the 38 people that were gruesomely killed in Madamai community.

“What happened to this innocent people who were going about their normal businesses was barbaric and it is condemnable and unacceptable by all human beings.
“As leaders in the National Assembly, we have a duty to ensure that this kind of barbaric action is mitigated. There is no sitting that this kind of motions of barbaric act is not presented on the floor of the House,” he added
The lawmaker called on the people to do their own bit by being vigilant to defend themselves at all times, saying that he won’t get tired of speaking for his people.
He enjoined the Federal Government to do the needful and declare bandits as terrorists to allow for a full scale military offensive against them.
Reverend Victor Gambo Yahaya, the Coordinator Takanai Ecwa Widows Training Camp in Samaru Kataf, said camp had about 7,000 registered IDPs as a result of unending attacks on Atyap communities in the Zangon Kataf LGA, part of Southern Kaduna.
Our correspondent observed that the camp had a large number of the aged women and children who needed medical assistance and food.
Reverend Gambo said about 21 communities in Atyap chiefdom alone had been deserted and taken over by Fulani marauders.


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Similarly, the national women coordinator of SOKAPU, Mrs Jemuta  Katarma said the carnage being unleashed on Southern Kaduna communities called for urgent attention of the international community.
She told The PUNCH that the carnage had turned many children to orphans, women to widows while others have been rendered homeless.
“We are calling on the government and the international community to come to the aid of these victims who have lost everything.
“Our people need help from the government, NGOs and well meaning individuals,” she appealed.
For Markus Samaila, a catechist with the Catholic church in Madamai, said 10 out of the 38 persons killed were members of his immediate and extended family.
Samaila told our correspondent that the houses of his neighbours were burned down as the attackers threatened to wipe them off the surface of the earth and forcefully occupy their lands.
At the Mercy IDP Camp in Zonkwa, Zango Kataf Local Government Area, Diana Bulus, 13, from Gora Gan said an attack on her community late last year claimed the lives of her mother and her sibling, adding that life had been miserable for her ever since.

“Fulani herdsmen invaded our community while I was at the local market of the community selling groundnuts in the evening.

“I just heard a loud bang of gunshots and people all over the town were running shouting Fulani have invaded our community, calling on everybody to run away.
“I can’t remember how I managed to escape the attackers. Initially, I was running towards home but the sound of gunshots coming few miles away from our house could not allow me move further.
 “I returned home the following morning to find their lifeless bodies on the floor. It was so heartbreaking.
“Life is meaningless to me now. Losing my mum and my brother both of whom I was close to is a bitter pill for me to swallow. If I remember I cannot see them anymore I become more aggrieved.
“The havoc that was wrecked on our community by Fulani herdsmen is something I would never forget in a hurry,” she added
The young Diana maintained that though she wished to go back to her village and continue her education, she might not be able to do so because of the worsening security situation in the area.


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During his sermon at the funeral mass of 38 killed in Madamai, the Catholic Bishop, Bishop Julius Kundi urged the people of southern Kaduna to unite Against any terrorism.
He advised the people to unite and defend themselves and fight terrorists that had rendered many of them homeless.
Also, the Senator representing Southern Kaduna Senatorial District, Senator Danjuma La’ah, advised Southern Kaduna people to defend themselves against the terrorist herdsmen.
He charged the people to remain vigilant. He called on government to take proactive measures in securing the lives and properties.
La’ah noted that the carnage inflicted on the Southern Kaduna clearly showed that there was nobody to defend them.
Laah stated, “We’re not here to react to the killings but to give a befitting burial to our loved ones and make the whole world know what’s happening to us.”
On her part Talatu Adamu, 42, from Chibok, struggled to hold back tears as she narrated how she lost her little baby who got drowned in a river while they were trying to run for dear life when the attackers struck.

“These people invaded our village of Chibok around 12 am and started shooting sporadically. When we heard the gunshots, we decided to run to a safe place.
“We ran and got to a river, and in the process of crossing that river my little baby girl got drowned and I couldn’t believe my eyes,” she noted
Adamu called on government to deploy security operatives to their communities and also help rebuild their burnt homes.
Other victims of attacks told The PUNCH that hunger was ravaging so many communities because of the inability of villagers to access their farmlands.
While the Kaduna State Government has continually assured the people that it is committed to enthroning sustainable peace in the Southern region and indeed the entire state, many believe it is not doing enough to match words with action.
The Commissioner of Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, had, at different fora, cautioned disgruntled elements against taking laws into their hands even in the face of provocation and urged them to channel their grievances through lawful means.
Amid the bloodletting in Southern Kaduna, series of peace summits have been organized by the traditional institution, religious leaders, politicians and other critical stakeholders to identify the conflict triggers and chart a way forward.


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Some sympathizers who spoke to our correspondent during the funeral mass of the 38 people in Madamai Community, lamented that it was unfortunate that no government official was at the funeral service to console with familys if victims who lost their lives in a very barbaric manner.
“This has shown the ineptitude of government towards the people of Southern Kaduna,” adding we’ll never forget this day,” they vowed
In his remarks at a peace forum in Kafanchan in June, the Southern Kaduna Zonal Chairman of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders, Abdulhamid Musa, called for equity, fairness and inclusion as a way of ending the persistent herders-farmers conflict.
 “There will be peace when everyone is given a sense of belonging and treated equally.
 “But a situation where some people are treated as sons of the land and others are not, is not the best,” he said.
Several other peace building summits have been convened to forestall the incessant attacks but it would appear they are just mere talk-shows as those meetings seem not to have translated into lasting peaceful co-existence in Southern Kaduna.
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