By Luka Binniyat
KADUNA— NO fewer than 123 people are feared killed in the continued onslaught on some villages in Sanga Local Goverment Area of Kaduna State, yesterday, by Fulani gunmen.
On Monday, 38 persons were killed in night raids on two villages, with several persons injured. Meanwhile, a 24-hour curfew has been imposed on the council by its chairman, Mr. Emmanuel Adamau.
The Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, has condemned the killings, calling on residents of Kaduna State to respect the sanctity of lives. The local CAN leadership of Sanga has put the death toll at over 100.
Tuesday, Kaduna State Commissioner of Police, Shehu Umar, had said: “I can confirm the death of 18 persons and several others wounded. We have also arrested three persons in connection with the crisis. They were arrested with three AK-47 rifles and about 158 rounds of ammunition.”
He said investigation had commenced into the remote cause of the crisis, while those arrested are undergoing interrogation.
The attacks continued yesterday while an international conference on Security and Development Challenges of Pastoralism in West and Central Africa was taking place in Kaduna.
The Secretary, CAN, Kaduna State branch, Mr. Sunday Ibrahim told newsmen, yesterday: “Reports reaching me from our Sanga branch reveals that terrible things has happened to our members there. We are told that over 100 people have been killed from yesterday (Tuesday) afternoon into the night. This is very sad.
“Residents of Kaduna State must learn to respect the sanctity of human lives. No religion preaches murder. The villages that were attacked were Dogon Daji, Kobin, Naidu, Kabamu Karshi, Hayin Kwanta, Kabani and Gani.
“Some people have been arrested among the attackers and were identified as Fulani men. I believe that they are terrorists because the Fulani that we live with cannot do this thing.
“I call on the state government and security agencies to intensify security on our vulnerable communities and I want to urge our people to stay calm and not take the law into their hands for that will not be the way of Christians.”
The National President of Ninzom Progressive Youth, NPY, Mr. Bezard Wuyah, told Vanguard on phone that the mortuary in Gwantu is filled with corpses, while hundreds of injured persons have been taken for treatment.
He said: “We have lost at least 120 people and we are still picking corpses from the bushes. This morning, we picked five dead bodies in another village.”
Shehu Ajetu, the Councillor representing Gwantu, said: “We cannot give a definite number of people that have been killed because in some of the villages that were attacked, it is difficult to bring out corpses from the villages to Gwantu.
“Some were killed when they were running into the bush. Besides, everybody is afraid of being ambushed. In Kobin village alone, 37 people were killed. We believe that the casualties are more than this because a lot of people are still missing in Kobin.
“Hundreds of people from the villages have relocated to Gwantu and are staying in refugee camps. The refugee camps are at the Gwantu Primary school and the Divisional Police Station.
“Soldiers and police were deployed to control the situation, unfortunately because the rural communities are not easily accessible, it was difficult for the security agents to stop the killings.
“The Fulani were well armed with AK-47 rifles. The villagers were very helpless. They do not have anything to defend themselves with apart from sticks and machetes.
“It was a well planned attack because they invaded the communities at the same time. They were spread across the local government area and that even made it more difficult for the communities to give each other a helping hand.
“Some months ago, there was an issue concerning the Fulani and the Numana chiefdom which was being investigated by security agents. The Fulani notified all their people to leave Sanga Local Government before they attacked.
“They even gave a notice that they will strike, but nobody knew when they will strike. We were thinking that they will strike in the area where they had problem. So everybody was taken by surprise when they decided to attack many communities.”
Breakdown of casualties
One Christopher Chisom, a local vigilante leader from Gwantu, who spoke to Vanguard, said: “They killed 38 in Kobin, 21 in Dogon Daji and burnt almost all the houses.
“In Naidu, 16 people were killed, while in Kabamu we lost 30. About 10 were shot to death in Kabani and nine in Gani. They are mostly women and children.
“The police are saying they must be given mass burial, but we want to take our loved ones and give them decent burial. And now some of the corpses are decomposing.”
Vanguard could not confirm this figure, as the Kaduna State Police Commissioner, Umar, and Kaduna State Police spokesman did not pick their calls or respond to a text message seeking to verify the figures.