John Shiklam in Kaduna
Suspected Fulani herdsmen have killed nine persons in yet another attack in Zipkak community in Jama’a Local Government Area (LGA), the heart of Southern Kaduna, Kaduna State.
The incident occurred on Friday at about 6:30pm when the bandits, numbering about 20 and armed with AK47 rifles stormed the village, about two kilometres from Kafanchan, headquarters of Jama’a LGA and opened fire.
As a result, the state governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai extended a 24-hour curfew on Zangon Kataf and Kauru to Jama’a and Kaura LGAs following the killings.
At the request of security agencies, el-Rufai said on his twitter handle that the state government “has extended to Jama’a and Kaura LGAs the curfew that is in force in Kauru and Zangon-Kataf LGAs, with immediate effect. This is to help contain violence, enforce order and protect lives.”
Despite the curfew, the killings have continued unabated. Findings revealed that information about the plan by the suspected Fulani herdsmen to attack Zipkak, had been circulating for days, before the bandits eventually struck.
In an interview yesterday, a resident of the area, Rev. Gideon Mutum said there was intelligence three days ago that the community would be attacked, but the security agencies did not do anything to prevent the attack.
Mutum said the bandits came to the community around 6:30pm and started shooting, killing nine people including a pastor of ECWA Church in the area.
He said 11 others sustained injuries from gunshots while five houses were burnt.
He added that six of those injured were in critical condition and were taken to the Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH), Plateau state, for treatment.
Mutum also condemned the curfew imposed on the four LGAs, ravaged by mass killings, arguing that the curfew had not stopped the ongoing massacre.
The cleric said the curfew “will only embolden and provide the killers with the enabling environment to continue with their evil activities.
“The confidence that the government always gives us is that we have a joint task force outfit here in Kafanchan, but we all know that the manpower is not enough, the motivation is not enough and the necessary equipment for security is not there.
“Yesterday, there was actually no effort by the military when the attack took place in the community which is just one and a half kilometres away, from Kafanchan town.
“They were taken by surprise because the criminals came and carried out the killings within a few minutes and left without being apprehended by security personnel.
“Curfew will not solve the problem, rather it will escalate the killings, looking at what we have experienced in other communities where a 24 hour curfew is in place.
“So, curfew will not make any difference from what we have experienced in other communities in Kauru and Zangon Kataf LGA where the governor imposed 24 hour curfew over a month ago.
“We have seen how people are being killed despite the curfew, rather it has emboldened and provided the enabling environment for the herdsmen to invade communities and kill people at will” he said.
Mutum further expressed disappointment over the failure of the government to end the killings, maintaining that it is not serious about fighting crime.
“We believe that if this government is serious about fighting crime, it must take law enforcement very seriously.
“I am advocating for community policing. If that is not possible, let the communities develop strategies for defending themselves, since the government has failed in its responsibility to protect them.
”The locals should be allowed to provide their own security. As it is right now, the state government will not want to see our people with even a dane gun. If the state government sees you with it, they will arrest you.
“But criminal elements move about freely with AK47 rifles and kill people without the government arresting and bringing them to justice. So people are totally helpless and are at the mercy of herdsmen who invade their homes and kill them,” the cleric lamented.