By Luka Binniyat
It was rough for the people of Maroa and Atakad communities in Kaura Local Government Area (LGA) of Kaduna State, and bordering Plateau State, last week, as unknown gunmen, suspected to belong to a Fulani militia, killed not less than 40 people in two separate raids in which at least a soldier and a police man were also slain.
The Monday daring raid, which mainly affected Atakad villages, brought the total number of such invasions to 11 with about 100 deaths, and at least five villages razed. In one particular invasion, several families including those of John Mbakwe, Taiye Ojo, Daniel Ekpu and Isaiah Akinsanya were attacked. The families were displaced while many members are said to be missing.It was not clear why the families were attacked. But a source said it may not be unconnected with political affiliation. The violence started last Christmas eve.
The Atakads live mainly on the Kagoro-Kanawuri hills, and are blessed with vast, lush undulating fields, served by several perennial streams and spring sources.
The figures of the killing in the latest attack as obtained by Sunday Vanguard are as follows: Mayit village, a Takad settlement in Plateau State – 22 civilians, one soldier and one Mobile Policeman; Kirim village, Plateau State – 6; Danti – A Takad border village between Kaduna and Plateau States – 14. Mr Wayo Ndong, 70, remained missing at press time.These brought the number of the killings to 34.The Catholic Church and many houses were burnt in Zangang in Kaura LGA, but there were no loss of lives there.
The victims were given mass burial at about 2pm on Wednesday.Though Governor Mukhtar Ramalan Yero of Kaduna State, occasionally, visits some scenes of attacks and always vows to fish out the culprits, preaching the need for peaceful co-existence, some groups seem not impressed.The Southern Kaduna Indigenes Progress Forum (SKPFo) announced, last week, it was dragging the governor to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague for complicity in what it termed “the genocide” against the Takad people.
Also, the Centre for Development and Rights Advocacy (CEDRA) called on the Federal Government to impose emergency rule in the state, saying Yero was incapable of securing Atakad and other parts of southern Kaduna.
All efforts by Sunday Vanguard to get the state government to react to the SKPFo and CEDRA statements failed as the Director General (DG) Media to the governor, Mallam Ahmed Maiyaki, did not pick his calls and did not respond to text messages.
But a government official, who said he did not want his name mentioned, said the two groups were just seeking attention, saying Yero was doing his best for the Atakad people and needed support not hostility from the people of southern Kaduna.
‘Gov will face ICC’
In its press statement, SKIPFo explained why it was dragging Yero to the ICC:
”We believe that the genocide in southern Kaduna, especially the desperate campaign to wipe out the Takad people and occupy their pristine land by Fulani, and other jihadists, is not without the complicity of strong sponsors and mentors under the present government which has refused to take this issue seriously”, the group said.
“SKIPFo wishes, with all sense of responsibility, to place the entire dark cloud hanging over the Maroa and Takad areas of Kaura LGA on the shoulders of His Excellency, Alh. Mukhtar Ramalan Yero, the Executive Governor of Kaduna State.
“The utterances, actions and inactions of Gov. Yero on the mass murder of our people clearly points to the fact that he does not care a hoot about what happens to us, and has directly or indirectly encouraged the pogrom going on.
“For example, when the late Governor Patrick Yakowa was in power, on the 15th February, 2012, Rev Joseph Hayab, Special Assistant to the Governor on Christian Affairs, and Mallam Halliru Maraya, Special Assistant to the Governor on Muslims Affairs, and Ishaku Dogo Makama, Executive Secretary, State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) Kaduna State, said, at a press conference, that after pocketing not less than N564 million in cash, apart from food stuff and other relief materials, Internally Displaced Persons (all Hausa/Fulani Muslims from Zonkwa) from the last April 2011 polls’ violence, had refused to leave the Hajj Camp, in Kawo, Kaduna.
“While the aforementioned enjoyed so much largesse from Yakowa, Yero, on his part, is not known to have offered a kobo to the much publicised 10,000 Takad refugees.
“He knows well that they are now under starvation since the Fulani made it impossible for them to return and cultivate their farms. Most of them are sick, traumatized without any form of assistance even as more violence is being visited on them on a daily basis under the watch of Yero.
”There is no further proof to show how he hates southern Kaduna people and encourages the systematic genocide of the Takad by starvation and violence
“Encouraged, by the feeble security in place, a band of ravaging Fulani militants invaded Takad villages again, last Monday, and wiped out all the inhabitants before razing the villages. “SKIPfo believes that if it were other ethnic nationalities murdering Fulani at will as it is done us, the governor would have since taken very aggressive measures to stamp out the evil..
“After collecting enough documentary evidence, and studying all incriminating information at our disposal, we are therefore holding His Excellency, Governor Mukhtar Ramalan Yero responsible for the genocide, against the Takad, of Southern Kaduna people. “Our lawyers, and their friends are taking the governor to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague very soon for aiding and abetting genocide, against the Takad and Southern Kaduna people.“We hope to get him extradited even if after he has left office, so that he faces justice”.
CEDRA, in its own reaction to the killings, said that Kaduna State government should be suspended and a state of emergency imposed on the state. In a statement by Dr. John Danfulani, Director of CEDRA, in Kaduna, CEDRA said: “ It is clear that Governor Yero of Kaduna State and his security team are deficit of the knowledge of effective administration and physical security management. This has denied him/them the capacity to carry out the number one duty of the state i.e protection of lives and property of citizens under their control. It is a global norm that any government that is incapable of performing that crucial role is not worth staying in power for a single second’.
But a top government official, who spoke to Sunday Vanguard on condition that his name would not be mentioned, said: “It is a pity that some people are just looking for attention to serve their selfish motive.
The governor has done a lot for the affected people of Kaura and he does not have to make noise about it. He is serious about peace and security and preaches it everywhere. This is the time that southern Kaduna should cooperate with him, and not be hostile to him”.