Vanguard (Lagos)

26 February 2013

Nigeria: We Will Not Stop Youths From Retaliating Killing of Our Kinsmen - Southern Kaduna People Warn

Kaduna — Southern Kaduna People's Union, SOKAPU, yesterday, warned it would no longer restrain youths from the area from reacting if any of its communities was attacked by suspected Fulani herdsmen again.

SOKAPU spoke against the backdrops of last Saturday's killings of five mourners in Aduwan village, Zangon Kataf Local Government Area of Kaduna State.

Among those who were reportedly killed included a five month old baby allegedly shot on the chest and head.

According to the association which is the umbrella organisation of all socio-ethnic groups in Southern Kaduna, no fewer than 100 of its members had been killed in unprovoked attacks since April 2011.

Addressing newsmen, the National President of SOKAPU, Dr. Ephraim Goje, also said that the Joint Task Force, JTF, in Southern Kaduna should be disbanded as it had outlived it usefulness.

Said Goje: "Between 9 and 10 am last Saturday, as youths gathered to mourn the demise of an aged community leader in Aduwan, some 10 armed men in military uniform stormed the place and opened fire on these defenceless, unarmed people with no apparent reason. They are said to be Fulani. They killed five people. Six were critically wounded and are now receiving treatment at the Jos Teaching Hospital. Four who were not so hurt are are St.LouiseHospital, Zonkwa.

"A five- month old baby was among the victims. The baby was shot in the head and on the chest. Its mother was also shot death and the lifeless body of the infant dumped on the dead mother.

"This will bring to 25 the number of such inexcusable invasions by the evil people since the April 2011 political violence. From our last count, we have lost well over 120 people in such bizarre manner.

"And it is coming after we have made robust progress in bringing back those who left after the April 2011 violence and many are still returning.

"I know the kind of intervention we the elders had to put to stop our youth from going haywire. They have told us that this will be the last blood to be shed in Southern Kaduna. They said we will never be able to restrain them next time.

"And I want to say it here, that if the JTF cannot protect us, they should pack and leave. We will mobilise resources and the wherewithal to protect our land, our lives and resources. And we will do that with the last drop of our blood.

"What is most shocking is that each time someone is arrested, nothing happens to the person. He is left to go free. There seems to be some kind of conspiracy between these cowards and security agencies. Why hasn't any of those caught been prosecuted? We are calling on the state government to set up neighbourhood community watch in every community here and fund it. They will work with the police. The message is that, enough is enough."

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