Southern Kaduna Killings: Over 500 killed in first half of 2020 – Report

OVER 511 persons have been killed  in Southern Kaduna as of July 25,  a report by SB Morgen (SBM) has revealed.

According to SBM, these killings were recorded from 83 violent attacks that have occurred in the area within the first half of 2020.

“The year 2020 has been a truly difficult year for residents of Southern Kaduna. As of the morning of 25 July 2020, this year has seen 83 distinct incidents in the state, which have claimed at least 511 lives,” the report read.

Aside from the obvious economic and social consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, the area has continued to experience incessant violence, killings, and displacement of residents, the report said.

The report noted that this was despite an increase in security deployments, including a heavy military and special forces presence in the area.

“Despite enjoying robust security deployments, including Special Forces of the Nigerian Army, surveillance aircraft by the Nigerian Air Force and mobile police units scattered across the region on a 24-hour basis aimed to quell such violence, there appears to be little hope that the violence would cease,” the report read.

According to the report,  12 areas in Southern Kaduna have witnessed varying degrees of attacks, with Kajuru and Chikun having the highest number of violent attacks in 2020 alone.

While Kajuru has recorded 26 incidents, Chikun has experienced 20 different attacks.

Other areas such as Birnin Gwari, Giwa, Kaura, Igabi and Zangon-Kataf have had seven, six, five and four incidents respectively.

The report also reflects that some of the alleged perpetrators of the attacks were military forces of the country.

It cited an instance where on February 21, an attack by military forces was carried out in Giwa Local Government Area resulting in 40 fatalities.

Another attack by the forces occurred on June 4, in Gidan Makeri area of Chikun claiming 70 lives, the report said.

According to the report, the attacks were as a result of clashes between militant herders and farmers.

Several groups including Southern Kaduna Elders Forum (SOKAF), led by Zamani Lekwat, a former military governor of Rivers State, have called on President Muhammadu Buhari to take steps to curb the violence and killings that have caused deaths and displacements of citizens resident in the area.

In a recent statement, the elders, while calling for an end to the carnage, also urged the president to call Nasir el-Rufai, the Governor of Kaduna State to order.

“As elders of the area and indeed Kaduna State, we are greatly disturbed by the unfolding tragedy ripping across our land. We cannot, therefore, afford to continue sitting and folding our arms in the face of the violence that portends a bleak future for future generations,” the elders said in the statement.

However, El-Rufai has stated that the activities of the bandits were being coated as ethnic and religious.

According to the governor, “the best guarantee of peace is the willingness of communities to live in peace and harmony, and a resolve to settle differences through exclusively lawful means.’’

SB Morgen is  Nigeria’s geopolitical intelligence platform.

Seun Durojaiye is a journalist with International Center for Investigative Reporting (ICIR).

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