West & Central Africa

Christmas killings in Nigeria in spite of Boko Haram ‘defeat’ claims

Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria’s President declared, two days before Christmas, that Boko Haram has been defeated and the jihadists cleared from their stronghold in Sambisa Forest in Maiduguri, Borno State. But at least 12 people were killed in attacks by Islamic militants in the last 48 hours by Boko Haram and Fulani Islamic Jihadists.
At least 10 people were killed in an overnight attack in Goska village, a predominantly Christian community, in Kaninkon Chiefdom of Jema’a in Kaduna State despite a 24 hour curfew. Two suicide bomber were also killed early Monday morning in an attempt to attack a market in Maiduguri.

The Rev Emmanuel Ubandoma, a pastor in Kafanchan Anglican Diocese told Global Christian News that, “it was rumoured a few days before the attack that  the Fulani Islamic herdsmen had sent a message, a Jihad requirement, “that they will attack the community. Most people did not worry much because there is a curfew in place and it was expected that the soldiers and security would intervene if there was any attack but the Fulani came and surrounded and attacked Goska village. The attack started at dusk and went through out the night to early Christmas morning” Ubandoma said.

The Fulani Islamists went straight to house of the former Chairman of Jema’a local government and former member of Kaduna State House of Assembly member, Gideon Yakubu Morik and burnt his house. His daughter was killed in the house” Rev. Ubandoma narrated. Over 10 people were killed and many home destroyed in the attack.

In an angry response today, the Southern Kaduna Peoples’ Union (SOKAPU) said in a statement that it is holding the Kaduna State governor, El-rufai responsible for the killings in Goska Village.

The statement  signed by Mr. Yakubu Kuzamani its national Public Relation Officer, said, the organization, “has had to painfully send out condolences to the murdered people of Goska village… Ironically, on a day that our people ought to be joyously celebrating the Christmas festivities, was the day they were reduced to burying their loved ones, treating the wounded in hospitals and coping with a fresh batch of internally displaced people of Goska village whose houses were burnt down.”

Mr Yakubu Kuzamani said it holds “Governor Nasir El-rufai responsible for all those murdered in Goska village because these killings took placed under a 24-hour curfew, imposed on Zangon Kataf, Kaura and Jema’a Local Governments by the Governor. While people were forced to stay indoors, pampered marauding herdsmen whose presence around Goska has been noticed and reported by people around that area for almost three days, attacked the town and for hours killed and burnt without let or hindrance from security.

“This amply confirmed our assertion that the 24-hour curfew slammed on the 3 LGs in Southern Kaduna was just to punish the people for daring to protest the persistent killings in their villages on 20th December when El-rufai visited kafanchan.”

Gov. El Rufai of Kaduna State

The organization challenged the governor’s “credible intelligence about risk to lives and property in the areas.” that made him impose a curfew but the “credible intelligence” did not prevent the killing of hundreds of people while “more than 20 communities have been attacked.”

The organization claims that the governor dispatched “hundreds of policemen, soldiers and other security personnel quickly drafted to those 3 LGs… just to enforce the curfew and arrest those the Governor felt disrespected him or trying to defend themselves and not to stop the killings… And like always, the security went to Goska village after the marauders had killed, burnt and left.”
Governor Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai condemning the attack, said it was the handiwork of forces of darkness and said the attackers know no peace as they will be chased out and brought to justice.

Earlier today also a female bomber detonated a bomb at the Kasuwan Shanu market in Maiduguri and a second female was “lynched by an irate mob in the vicinity”. when the crowd noticed she was carrying a device according to security sources.

The device was later detonated by the security forces. So far, only the female suicide bombers were killed.

These attacks come on the heel of the declaration by the Nigeria’s President Muhaamadu Buhari, that Boko Haram has been crushed and the Sambisa forest cleared of the Islamic terror group Boko Haram.