Southern Kaduna killings: No arrest made since 2016, group claims

The Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU) has expressed concerns that since 2016 when killings took a turn for the worst in the area, there is no evidence that any culprit has been arrested and prosecuted.

Mr Luka Binniyat, SOKAPU’s spokesman, in a statement, avowed: “SOKAPU condemns in no small terms the carnage visited on Unguwan Wakali by enemies of peace and humanity. In more than the 200 invasions of communities of Southern Kaduna, in which thousands of lives were wasted and no less than 245 communities displaced, all as a result of herdsmen and bandits attacks, no form of assistance has been rendered to survivors by Kaduna State government.”

The union called on the international community to help put pressure on both Kaduna State and the federal governments to bring the killers to justice and to provide the IDPs with essential needs.

“We are also calling on our youths to exercise restrain in the face of these provocations and give full cooperation to security agents while keeping vigilance over their communities,” the union appealed.

SOKAPU recalled the recent killings of Saturday, March 11, 2023, when marauding armed herdsmen lay siege on Unguwan Wakili, in Atyap Chiefdom, Zangon Kataf Local Government Area (LGA) between 8 pm and 9 pm killing 17 persons and escaping into the night. He noted that the ever-busy Kafanchan-Saminaka Expressway bisects the town into two halves, and with ease of accessibility to other parts of the state, Unguwan Wakili has become rather cosmopolitan.

The statement explained that earlier on that Saturday, there were reports that herdsmen caused a skirmish at the main checkpoint on the eastern entrance of the village, when they rode provocatively on four motors bikes in pairs in a manner that drew the suspicion of the Mobile Police (Mopol) unit manning the checkpoint with one of the riders allegedly shot in the leg during the altercation while the rest fled on foot, leaving behind their bikes as the fracas turned ugly with one of the Mopol officers wounded by a stray bullet from a colleague.

The statement recounted that the retreating herdsmen later cornered an isolated farmer returning to Unguwan Wakili, pursued him into a harvested yam farm and macheted him to death, pointing out that as the tension became high that evening, the Mopol unit was promptly replaced by a contingent of soldiers from a military operation camp on the fringe of the village bordering Zangon Kataf town.

Explaining that it was obvious that the killers would return at night, SOKAPU spotlighted the poor vigilance on the parts of the villagers and those sent to protect them, saying that the herdsmen came around 8 pm when most households just had or were preparing supper, with gunshots from the southern end of the town taking everyone off guard. The statement noted that the point from which the marauders invaded the village was not more than 600 metres away from the military checkpoint.

Sixteen persons were left lifeless in the wake of the attack while one more victim later died of her wounds in the hospital, bringing the death toll from the Unguwan Wakili invasion to 17.

Those killed according to SOKAPU included an Igbo woman and her two children, while compilation of the profiles of the murdered victims is still ongoing as not all were natives of Unguwan Wakili.

The statement lamented that, as has become the norm with such invasions, no arrest has been made but instead, the chairman of Zango Kataf LGA, Mr Francis Zimbo, has slammed a 24-hour curfew on Unguwan Wakili and its environs.

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