By Luka Binniyat, Abdulwahab Abdulah, Ndahi Marama,
KAFANCHAN It was another weekend of killings as the Adamawa State Police Command, yesterday, confirmed the killing of three policemen and the disappearance of two others in an attack by suspected herdsmen in Demsa Local Government Area of the state.
In Yobe State, suspected Boko Haram insurgents attacked the Nigerian Army Brigade, killing five soldiers at Buni/Yadi military post about 6.15pm on Saturday.
Buni/Yadi is the headquarters of Gujba, located on the fringes of Sambisa Forest and 54 kilometres south of Damaturu, the state capital. The attackers were later overpowered by the army, as scores were killed, while many escaped with bullet wounds.
Meanwhile, in Kaduna State, two persons were killed, while two are missing after a gun battle between Police and herdsmen in Stonje village, Kaura Local Government Area of Kaduna, Senator Danjuma Laah (PDP, Southern Kaduna) said yesterday, in a statement in Kaduna.
Similarly, five people were killed by herdsmen in Abraka, Delta State.
In Kaduna, Senator Danjuma Laah, also raised alarm over the capture and occupation of villages in Southern Kaduna by the herdsmen, saying that the violence might be a pointer that Boko Haram terrorists were regrouping in Southern Kaduna to team up with herdsmen.
In the same development, the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Kaduna State chapter said it was surprised at the killings. The Kaduna CAN said it thought the increased number of security personnel was enough to curb the killings.
On its part, Kaduna State Police Command said it was not yet ready with a comment over the violence.
Meanwhile, Christians in Kaduna State, yesterday, attended church services mostly dressed in black attires in obedience to the directive given by CAN, to commemorate a day of prayer and mourning over the killings in the Christian dominated parts of Southern Kaduna.
Also, yesterday, hundreds of Christian clerics staged a peaceful protest to the gate of Rivers State Government House, Port Harcourt, demanding an end to the Southern Kaduna killings.
Sad day for us — Sen. Laah
Senator Laah said: “Today (yesterday), as we observe the National Morning Day ordered by CAN, over the unabated killings of law-abiding citizens of Nigeria in Southern Kaduna and the forceful taking of their lands, I wish to sadly inform again, that two persons were killed yesterday by the same marauding herdsmen.
“The death of these two men, identified as Ephraim Ezekiel, 19, and Joshua Ladi, 41, occurred 24 hours, after gun battle between the terrorists on one hand and the Nigeria police and local vigilante as the Fulani terrorists tried to overrun a village called Tsonje.
“Tsonje is just a stone throw from Kagoro town, in Kaura Local Government Area, Southern part of Kaduna State. I have been reliably informed that after the terrorists retreated to their well known camp behind Pasakori community at the foot of Kagoro mountain, a few kilometres away, two other persons have also been declared missing.
“Information reaching me from around the troubled areas affirmed that despite the large presence of troops of the Nigeria Army that have been drafted to assist the Police in battling these terrorists, not a single soldier was drafted to assist the police and the local vigilante, despite sporadic gun shots that could be heard for kilometres away and throughout the onslaught from Friday morning to Saturday morning.
Instead, I only get reports of soldiers brutalising Southern Kaduna natives; intimidating and threatening our brave young ones with arrest as they lay watch over their communities.
“I am making this public to alert the world of a possible re-grouping of Boko Haram terrorists with Fulani herdsmen in Southern Kaduna. They are now conquering large swaths of lands, and have now established a base behind Passakori. This was how Boko Haram started in 2009. I am appealing especially to the Nigeria military, whose gallant achievements in dislodging Boko Haram terrorists is being praised and hailed nationwide, to step in and assist the Police.”
We’re surprised —Kaduna CAN
Meanwhile, Secretary of CAN, Kaduna State Chapter, Rev. Ibrahim Sunday, told our correspondent in Kafanchan that, “CAN is very surprised at these killings. When we heard it, we thought it was just a rumour. It would then now look that the influx of soldiers and the police is yet to bear real fruits. Stonje is just about four kilometres from Kafanchan, the head of the operations by the Army and the Police. We just hope that the Federal Government is not paying lips service to the whole issue.
“I call on all our members not to allow this to distract them into taking the law into their hands. But we call on the Federal Government to show real determination to solve this mass murder and get the culprits to face the law,” he said.
The Kaduna State Police Command Spokesman, Mr Aliyu Usman, on his part said, “I have no comment to give you now. You have to give us more time to come up with our statement.” At press time, he was yet to reach Vanguard with the statement.
Meanwhile, Christians in Kaduna State, yesterday, attended church services mostly dressed in black attires in obedience to the directive given by CAN, to mourn the victims.
In Kafanchan, Jema’a LGA, all the churches visited by Vanguard, including St. Peter’s Catholic Cathedral, Kafanchan, adhered to the directive..
Former Kaduna State Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General, Mr. Mark Jacob, said: “It is symbolic of the cause. The prayers and mourning shall surely reach God and the government of Nigeria has to take decisive action to stop the killings. That even children could obey the instruction of CAN, shows that the Christian body is one united on this issue.
“I have no choice than to obey the call by CAN. This is also a call on the government to wake up,” he said.
Protest in Rivers
Hundreds of Christian clerics, under the auspices of CAN, staged a peaceful protest to the gate of Rivers State Government House, Port Harcourt, demanding an end to the Southern Kaduna killings, yesterday.
The protesters were received by the Representative of Governor Nyesom Wike and Chief of Staff, Engineer Chukwuemeka Woke.
The Christian leaders presented a letter for President Buhari to the representative of the governor, asking him to transmit same to the President.
In an address on behalf of the Rivers State CAN, Primate ICT Anyanasikike called on President Buhari to end the genocide in Southern Kaduna.
In his response, Governor Wike assured the Rivers CAN leaders that their letter would get to the President.
He urged them to remain peaceful; pointing out that development can only take place in an atmosphere of peace.
The governor said his administration will continue to promote religious harmony through its programmes.
The state command’s Public Relations Officer, Othman Abubakar, who confirmed that three policemen were killed, while two were missing, said four rifles belonging to the policemen were also missing.
“Fulani militia attacked the three villages and we lost three of our gallant MOPOL, while two are missing. We have constituted a high powered search team and by the special grace of God we are going to recover our men.
“On the side of the civilians, two bodies have so far been recovered,” Othman said.
The spokesman said the police had succeeded in killing scores of the militias who where however able to escape with their dead ones.
Confirming the attack, yesterday, though he did not give any casualty figure, Spokesman of 27 Task Force Brigade, Lt. George Okupe in an SMS message, said “Buni/Yadi in Damaturu, is one of the escape routes of fleeing Boko Haram fighters, after troops’ capture of Camp Zero in Sambisa forest last year.
“The attack was successfully repelled, with some of the insurgents killed, while others fled with gunshot wounds.
“Buni Yadi came under attack about 06.15p.m., but things are under control. Casualty figure of Boko Haram Terrorists yet to be confirmed; on locales, none for now likewise own forces. However, details will be relayed to you soon.”
But sources said five soldiers were killed, including a captain.
“The insurgents came from the eastern side of the brigade in large numbers and launched attack on the military formation before they were repelled,” a military source said.
The source added that the Captain (name withheld), was a medical doctor, who has just been posted to Buni Yadi, Yobe state.
Another military source in Damaturu, said that the insurgents also suffered heavy casualty in the attack as many dead bodies were seen scattered in the bush.
“Troops are still in pursuit of some of the fleeing insurgents,” assured the military source.
He continued: “Nobody had time to start counting the numbers of the bastards that were killed because we were busy pursuing the ones that were running, but I must tell you that many of them were killed and their dead bodies scattered in the bush.”
This is the first time the 27 Task Brigade has suffered a heavy attack from Boko Haram since its relocation from Damaturu to Buni Yadi in 2015.
Buni Yadi was taken over by the insurgents for over six months in 2014; before it was recaptured by the military in May 2015.