West & Central Africa

Nearly 40 deaths as Christian farmers and Islamist herdsmen clash

Almost 40 people have been killed in two-day mayhem between Christian farmers and Islamic Fulani Cattle herdsmen in Kaduna State last week (Monday 17 July).

The violence took the form of killings, reprisals and counter-reprisals in the Ungwan Uka Village about 60 km away from Kaduna, the state capital.

Governor, Nasiru El Rufai deployed security personnel to the southern Kaduna region to stop killings that have escalated since last year in which hundreds of Christians have been killed.

Eye witness accounts say a Fulani youth who was a bandit had terrorized the villages for some time.
Even though he was known to the local Fulani community leader nothing was done about his activities. On one of his raids, the Fulani youth was killed by youths from Kadara(the ethnic tribe) in  Ungwan Uka. The killing of the herdsman started the first wave of repraisal when Islamic Fulani herdsmen attacked the village, killing five people.

The Kadara youths, in the Christian community, Commissioner of Police, Agyole Abeh, said, “immediately mobilised and went into the bush, attacking, killing and maiming Fulani, and burning any Fulani settlement within sight.” The police confirmed, “27 herdsmen and six villagers died in the Sunday and Monday clashes.”

An eye witness, Salisu Mohammed, said after the attack on Monday, figures given by the police “are the bodies that have been recovered. We do not know the actual number of casualties as our people are scattered all over running for dear life.”

The Police said that calm had been restored and the police and army presence in the area had been “beefed up” to “bring about lasting peace and restore confidence”.

The Rev Emmanuel Ubandoma, a priest from the southern Kaduna community told Global Christian
News that “unless the government stops its bias against the Christian community in southern Kaduna, the killings will still continue. Christian leaders claim that the herdsmen are protected by both state and federal governments. The Rev Ubandoma accused the government of taking sides with the Islamic herdsmen.

The Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, in a statement by his spokesmen, Laolu Akande said the Presidency “has ordered further security reinforcements in Kaduna state following reports of communal clashes.”

“Nothing will change unless the acting president has the political will to stand against the Miyetti Allah Islamic organization and stop the terrorism of the Fulanis,” Ubandoma said.

 

Hassan John is West Africa Editor, Global Christian News.

Images Credit: Hassan John