West & Central Africa

Just call us when attackers come again, police tell victims after mass attack

Hassan John, Africa Editor for Global Christian News  recently visited the Christian communities of Southern Kaduna to discover government incompetence and neglect of vulnerable communities

Growing attacks on Christian communities in Southern Kaduna are still on the rise, despite assurances by the Army and Kaduna State government that they have stopped the carnage. Hassan John of Global Christian News toured some of these communities this week and it is very evident that many villages are neglected by the authorities and are left to protect themselves. One observer said that the authorities were either incompetent or this was a deliberate campaign backed by the government to destroy the communities.At Ashim, a village over 30 miles from Kafanchan and about 200 miles from Kaduna the State capital, Fidelis Daniel, the community leader said, “We were summoned to a security meeting on the attacks by Fulani cattle men in southern Kaduna last Sunday by the District head. We were in the meeting when he received a phone call. The caller at the other end told him that Fulani had concluded arrangements to attack our villages.”

The District head then told us to do whatever we could to protect our communities. We left the meeting and mobilised young men in the villages. We have had local vigilantes for some time since the eruption of crises many years ago. That night after 6 pm the vigilantes saw some movements. Lots of people in the bushes crawling like sheep. They soon realised these were not sheep. They raised an alarm and then the Fulanis attacked. There must have been about 200 of them. There was a barrage of gunshots. The gunshots went nonstop for sometime. People about five miles away later told us they heard the gunshots.”
Haruna, a pastor in a village six mile away from Ashim, said, “I heard the gunshots and was certain that by the next morning there will be no survivors in the village. I saw the red flames of burning houses in the dark in the distance from here. All we could do was to pray for the villagers.”
The following morning it emerged that 26 people were killed in the attack on three villages in the area on Sunday night. Global Christian News was shown the graves of those killed in the attack. A resident in the village said that the army and polices showed up more than an hour after the attack started but by then many people were already killed. The police went after the retreating Fulani Herdsmen and in the exchange of gunfire killed one of the Fulani.

“The government has continued to deny that the attackers were not Fulanis but here (he showed the picture of the
Fulani man killed) is this not a Fulani herdsman? The police said to us they will take the corpse away as an evidence to show the government,” he said.
Fidelis, told Global Christian News that he believes the marauding Fulani herdsmen are on a special mission, backed by powerful interest groups together with the federal and state governments to destroy and possibly exterminate Christian communities in Southern Kaduna.

“The Fulani we knew where those who went about with their herds peacefully tending their cattle carrying machetes for self protection and as utility tool. But the Fulanis we see now are well armed with sophisticated weapons, well coordinated and trained for warfare,” he added.
The community head said he was informed on Tuesday that the Fulani groups have sent information that they are coming back. The community head explained that the Fulani failed to wipe out the village so they wills return. Women and children are leaving the village taking whatever they can carry.

Fidelis added “the  acting local council chairman was in the village on Monday together with the District Police Officer and we told him that the Fulanis said they will be back and we requested for police protection but the police told us that they can’t set a police outpost there but we should call them whenever the Fulani attack again.”

He pointed to vigilantes with two ‘dane’ guns. “Will these protect our women and children against many AK-47s”.