Nigeria: 33 Killed in Fresh Southern Kaduna Attacks

7 August 2020

Thirty three persons, mostly women and children, were killed with many persons still unaccounted for as gunmen again attacked Atyap villages in Zangon Kataf Local Government Areas of Kaduna State.

However the police said only 21 persons were killed.

Daily Trust gathered that the attacks took place simultaneously between 11pm Wednesday and 1am Thursday in Apyiashyim, Atak'mawai, Kibori and Kurmin Masara villages of Atyap chiefdom of Zangon Kataf LGA.

A source said because it rained heavily through the night, the attackers had killed and maimed unhindered despite a 24 hour curfew.

A resident of Atak'mawai (Kurmin Masara) village in Zaman Dabo ward, Irimiya Gandu, who confirmed the incident on Thursday, said no fewer than 12 persons had been killed and many houses burnt in his community.

He said the attackers stormed the area around 1am when most of the villagers had fallen asleep.

"I rushed into my house and brought out members of my family and ran to a safer place when I started hearing gunshots.

"Twelve persons were killed, mostly children and women," he said.

Another resident from Apiojyim community in Kibori District, Jonathan Ishaya, said seven persons were killed during the attack in his community and that most of the village was razed.

According to him, the gunmen invaded the community heavily armed at around 11pm of Wednesday night shooting sporadically.

Jonathan Ishaya, the Youth Leader of Apiojyim, one of the attacked communities under Kibori, said they were the first to be attacked around eleven o'clock Wednesday night as their people were on patrol.

"Their intention was to take us unaware, but when they came, they saw our youths patrolling the village and they started exchanging fire," he said.

Ishaya, who is also the National Assistant Financial Secretary of Atyap Development Association, Youth Wing, said they spent one hour defending their community before the attackers retreated, after they burnt some houses.

"We have buried seven of our people today (Thursday), including an 80-year-old man," he added.

The youth leader appealed to the government to establish a security outfit in the area.

Our correspondent gathered that 12 persons were killed in Atak'mawai (Kurmin Masara) while several houses were burnt. In the Apiojyim community of Kibori District, it was learnt that seven persons were killed, while more than 10 houses were burnt.

Also, in Atak'mawai (Zango) three persons were killed and seven houses burnt.

A press statement signed by the national spokesperson for Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU) Luka Biniyat, said 33 persons of Atyap extraction were killed and that the attacks were on five communities which include; Apiojyim, Kibori, Apiako, Atakmawe and Magamiya.

They appealed to the international community and other spirited individuals to come to their aid.

21 killed, 3 injured - Police

However, the Kaduna State Police Command yesterday said it could confirm that 21 people had been killed in the attacks and three others injured.

Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Mohammed Jalige, told Daily Trust that security personnel had been drafted to the area to patrol and de-escalate tensions as well as enforce the 24 hour curfew.

Daily Trust reports that the latest attack in Zangon Kataf followed Tuesday's attack on three Fulani herders who were ambushed but escaped with bullet wounds while grazing their cows at Goragam area of Zangon Kataf.

Four southern Kaduna local governments have been engulfed in violence after a land dispute between the Hausa tribe of Zangon Urban and the Atyap people in Zangon Kataf on June 5, sparked violence that spread to three other local government areas claiming at least 100 lives in the last two months.

A 24 hour curfew was imposed by the Kaduna State government on Zangon Kataf, Kauru, Jema'a and Kaura LGAs to de-escalate tension but reports of midnight attacks and counter attacks have continued unhindered.

Gunmen invade church, kill 4 worshippers in Bayelsa

Gunmen suspected to be cultists yesterday invaded a church in Azikoro village, Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa State and killed four worshippers.

The hoodlums, who stormed the church at about 11pm on Wednesday, also set a nearby house ablaze.

The state police spokesman, SP Asinim Butswat, confirmed the incident, saying its operatives had already launched a manhunt for the killers.

He said: "On 5th August, 2020, at about 2300hours,suspected cultists stormed the 'Lion of Judah Church' Azikoro village, Yenagoa Local Government Area, Bayelsa State, shot dead four church members namely; Alfred Marcus, Imomotimi, surname unknown, Gabriel Ejimofor and Uchechukwu Ejimofor, set ablaze a nearby building, damaged a vehicle and the church properties.

Meanwhile two suspects have been arrested and are cooperating with the police in their investigation"', he said.

Another protest over insecurity in Katsina

Angry villagers' yesterday morning blocked the ever busy Kankara-Katsina road protesting unabated attacks on their communities by bandits.

As early as 6am the villagers used big tree trunks to barricade the road, burning some around Marken Dogon Ruwa village in Dutsinma Local Government Area.

Hundreds of motorists and commuters were held up for hours along the road with some seeking alternative routes.

It took the intervention of the Dutsinma DPO and Army personnel, to get the road reopened at about 1pm.

Daily Trust reports that the protest was as a result of overnight attacks on three villages of Sanawa, Dogon Ruwa and Kurechi, all of Dutsinma LGA.

This will be the fifth protest by residents of the state over insecurity in the last two months. Similar ones had taken place at Daddara town in Jibia LGA, Yantumaki in Danmusa LGA and Yankara of Faskari LGA.

N/East, N/West, S/South not safe, UK alerts nationals in Nigeria

The United Kingdom (UK) has advised its citizens in Nigeria against travelling to the North-east, North-west, and South-Southern states in the country, warning that they are not safe due to the current spate of insecurity.

The states are; Borno, Yobe, Adamawa and Gombe. It also urged them to avoid Kaduna, Kano, Bauchi, Niger, Jigawa, Katsina, Zamfara, Kogi, Abia and Rivers.

Other states to avoid according to the travel advisory are; Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Cross River.

The travel advisory to its nationals residing in Nigeria was publicised on the official website of the UK Foreign Office, stating that "the Foreign & Commonwealth Office currently advises British nationals against all but essential international travel."

It added that the insecurity in Nigeria necessitated the temporary withdrawal of a small number of UK staff and dependents at the British High Commission in Abuja and the British Deputy High Commission in Lagos.

"Both locations will continue to carry out essential work including providing 24/7 consular assistance and support to British people in Nigeria," the statement reads.

The UK Foreign Office, which confirmed that helicopter gunships had been operating in Kaduna State targeting cross border banditry, said Al Qaeda linked terrorist groups had been reported to be operating in Kaduna.

"Humanitarian hubs have been targeted during attacks in the North east, including Monguno, Borno State on 13 June 2020.

"There have also been significant attacks in Gombe, Kano, Kaduna, Jos and Bauchi States and in the Federal capital, Abuja. Further attacks are likely," the office warned.

We're not oblivious of Al-Qaeda infiltration'

The Defence Headquarters described the warning by the United States of America about bandits' infiltration of the West African region as a call to sustain onslaught against Boko Haram terrorists and Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP).

It noted that it was not the first time America was raising such alarm.

The United States Africa Command (US AFRICOM) on Tuesday warned that the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda terrorist groups were exploiting the COVID-19 pandemic and gradually taking over the West African region after losing ground in Syria, Iraq and in the Middle East.

The Commander, U.S. Special Operations Command Africa, Major General Dagvin R.M. Anderson, warned that the extremists were deploying several strategies to re-establish themselves in the region and expand on the entire continent.

But the Coordinator, Defence Media Operations, Major General John Enenche, said the Armed Forces was not oblivious of the potency of such infiltration, noting "it was the Nigerian Military who raised alarm of movement of terrorists from the Middle East to West Africa and it is conscious of it".

"For me this is not the first time they are raising such an alarm. The alarm is as old as maybe five or ten years ago and the armed forces and the country are conscious of it.

"When the conflict in Libya was declared officially that it ended, which did not end what happened? It was we, our NIA, state service and all that raised the information that these people are moving.

"Have we not captured foreigners among the people that have been terrorising us in this country?

"So it is just like a call to keep doing what you are doing, so the general public should know that the security agencies are on top of that one,"

Eneche added, "Recently we captured some in Niger State, where are they coming from"?

He said strategies have been put in place to halt them.

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