Wednesday, June 25, 2014

38 Feared Killed in Fresh Kaduna Attack
Nigerian women leading protests against abductions.
Written by Saxone Akhaine (Kaduna), Laolu Akande (New-York) and Njadvara Musa (Maiduguri)
Nigerian Guardian

Group seeks emergency rule, state govt condemns attacks

• Eight abducted Chibok school girls escape

• UN warns of B’ Haram’s link with other terror groups

IN yet another bestial act, suspected gunmen Tuesday morning invaded some villages in Sanga Council of Kaduna State, killing about 38 residents.

   Meanwhile, indigenes of Southern Kaduna have urged the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency in the state to put an end to suspected terror acts.

  However, Governor Mukhtar Ramalan Yero has condemned the attack, describing it as a “provocative attempt by some unpatriotic people to cause confusion and unrest.”

  In a related development, after 72 days of captivity in the hands of Boko Haram insurgents, about eight of the over 200 abducted students of Government Girls Secondary School Chibok in Borno State, on Sunday escaped from the bandits’ den.

  In the same vein, a report submitted to the United Nations (UN) Security Council has indicted the likelihood that different terrorist groups engaged in violent activities in Africa may ally with Boko Haram and further worsen the insurgency in Nigeria and other parts of the continent.

  According to a resident in the area who spoke under anonymity, yesterday’s attacks were allegedly carried out by Fulani herdsmen,  who killed  21 at Kabamu – Karshi and 17 others  in Nandu villages respectively.

  He said: “They came to our area with dangerous weapons shooting and setting our houses ablaze. Last weekend, some couples who went to farm were also killed. We were able to kill one of the attackers and arrested another. That is why we know that the attack was carried out by Fulani. Women and children were the major casualties in the attacks. We don’t know the mission of the bandits.”

   Besides, Chairman of Sanga Local Government Area, Mr. Emmanuel Adamu who visited the scene of the attack, described the act as barbaric.

  Adamu, who confirmed the number of those killed, stressed that the attack started at about 10 p.m. on Monday up to the early hours of yesterday, adding, “the attack lasted for several hours claiming the lives of 21 people at Kabamu village and 17 at Ankpong villages.”

   He, however, condoled with the affected families and appealed to the people to remain calm as security measures were been put in place to forestall reoccurrence.

   As at the time of filling this report, some of the villagers were sighted fleeing the affected areas to unknown destinations for safety.

  While condemning the attack, the Southern Kaduna group, under the umbrella of Concerned Realists of Southern Kaduna (CRSK),  in a statement yesterday by its Chairman, Dr. John Danfulani, said: “We wish to tell the world that there is monumental failure in handling of security issues in Southern Kaduna by the Federal and Kaduna governments and security agencies, and we make bold to say that the state government is inciting crisis like in Chawai Chiefdom where two persons lost their lives at the weekend  when it appointed a traditional ruler while a suit  is pending in court.”

   He further remarked that “the politicisation of the crisis in Jere Chiefdom by the state government and some powerful forces was also another sore issue.

   While urging the Federal Government to immediately consider slamming a state of emergency in the state to put an end to the massacre going on, Danfulani stated that “we refuse to be intimidated or harassed in expressing the reality of Southern Kaduna

excruciating predicaments and failure of government and security agencies”.

  In a statement by his Director General, Media and Publicity, Ahmed Maiyaki, the governor condoled with families of victims of the attack, adding: “We call on the people in Fadan Karshi and other parts of the state to remain calm as security forces have already been deployed in the area to maintain law and order. We should remain united and resolute in resisting obvious attempts by agents of darkness to create confusion and sow seeds of discord in our state.”

   The governor also urged the entire people of the state “to continue to live in peace with one another and to become more vigilant with a view to assisting security agencies with relevant information on suspicious persons and movements within and around their communities.”

   He further disclosed that security agencies have commenced investigation into the crisis and were on the track of the criminals.

   Narrating their ordeal while fleeing the insurgents’ den, one of the girls (names withheld) in a telephone interview with The Guardian, said that it was by God’s grace that one of the insurgents from Chibok and some Fulani herdsmen aided their escape.

   She added: “I cannot believe it and it was very miraculous for eight of us to escape last Sunday from the detention camp to join our parents in Gandarma village in Chibok Local Government Area.

  As we were led by one of the insurgents to ease ourselves in the nearby bush, he pointed to a route we should follow and flee until we got to a Fulani settlement.”

  On how they got to their village, she said: “We ran and walked, panting and sweating profusely for two hours before we got to a Fulani settlement in the forest. The local

Fulani leader received us and provided water for us to take our bath and wash our dirty uniform. He later arranged a pick-up truck to convoy us to Gandarma village.

  She continued: “After driving for 25 kilometres the vehicle broke down and for fear of being pursued by the insurgents, the driver flagged down three motorcycles, paid them and they took us to our village.”

  Speaking on the issue, the Chairman of Chibok council, Ba’ana Lawan also confirmed the escape of abducted schoolgirls, stating that the village head hinted him of the girls escape from hostage.

   Also, the Borno State Police Commissioner, Tanko Lawal confirmed the incident, adding, the Chibok Divisional Police Officer (DPO) informed him of the girls’ escape.

   According to the UN report, urgent international assistance including greater cooperation between Nigeria, her neighbours and other affected countries in the continent was needed to prevent a situation where the terrorist groups would begin to coordinate their violent activities.

  In the report which was tabled at the weekend,  the UN Special Envoy for the African Sahel region,  Guebre Sallassie,  stated that the “deterioration of the political and security situation in the region and beyond constitutes a serious risk of new connections between terrorist groups based in Sahara-Sahel, Nigeria and (East Africa).

   Specifically, Sellassie said she has been struck by the deterioration of the political and security situation, notably in Libya, the enduring political and security challenges in Mali, the persistent terrorist attacks throughout the region, notably those carried out by Boko Haram in Nigeria, all of which continue to have negative consequences on civilians and local economies.

   “The humanitarian situation remains extremely fragile, at least 20 million people remain at risk of food insecurity and nearly five  million children are at risk of acute malnutrition,” she said, adding that meanwhile, high levels of youth unemployment in the Sahel increase the appeal of violent ideology.

  “The reality on the ground is that North, West and Central Africa form a contiguous geo-political region where short-term as well as mid-and long-term multidimensional responses to various threats to peace and security need be thought of and implemented collectively,” Sellassie declared.

  The envoy reaffirmed UN’s commitment to continue to support the countries of the region and stressed the importance of the political will of the governments of the region which was critical to an effective implementation of the UN strategy for the Sahel.

  “One of the key lessons we learnt from the crisis in Mali is that democratisation processes, which translate into internationally-sanctioned elections and efforts towards decentralisation, need to be complemented by efforts to strengthen state institutions and better integrate and manage diverse societies,” Sellassie said,   emphasising that along with “sustained political will,” the strategy must be accompanied by profound political, economic and social transformation in the region.

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