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Zangon-Kataf Killings: Miyyati Allah, SOKAPU trade blame

Published by The Nation on Sat, 17 Jul 2021

By Abdulgafar Alabelewe, KadunaThe killings occasioned by communal clashes between Atyap people and Fulani herdsmen in Atyap Chiefdom of Zangon Kataf Local Government Area, Kaduna State have sparked accusations and counter-accusations between the umbrella bodies of the two groups.A statement issued by the chairman, Kaduna State chapter of Miyyati Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), Alhaji Haruna Usman Tugga, accused Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU) of killing defenceless Fulani herdsmen and members of their families.Miyyatti said SOKAPU resorted to total blackmail against Fulani people whose households were completely burnt, causing them to scamper to safety and leaving behind all possessions, and still turned round to accuse them of perpetuating violence.However, SOKAPU, in a similar statement issued through its spokesman, Luka Binniyat, accused the Fulani of killing Atyap people, burning down their houses and churches.Miyyatti said: We are all aware violent conflicts have been ongoing in many of the villages in Atyap Chiefdom of Zangon Kataf Local Government. Based on the information available to our Association, the trigger for the present round of disturbances emanated from the attack on a family by unknown bandits in Gora Gan village of the chiefdom on 7th July, 2021.As it is characteristic of the misinformed youths who are indoctrinated to hate the Fulani pastoralists, attack on cattle rearers followed the unfortunate event. While security agencies moved swiftly to contain the violence around Gora Gan and adjoining villages, there was mobilisation of Atyap youths by some ethnic chauvinists among the Atyap ethnic community and other non-peace loving organisations, which resulted in attacks on Fulani settlements throughout the chiefdom. Within a few days, all the houses of the Fulani in the chiefdom were burnt by mobs in broad daylight.Read Also;Zamfara killingsThe statement also said unconfirmed number of Fulani pastoralists were also killed, causing surviving victims to become internally displaced and scattered around in neighbouring Local Governments of Kaura, Kauru, Lere, Jemaa and Kachia.Miyatti further said it is yet to ascertain the number of Fulani people that were killed, even though there are confirmed reports of the killing of 16 persons, mostly women and children.It also said over 300 houses belonging to the Fulani were reportedly burnt, while the people, in a bid to save their lives, abandoned countless number of cattle, leaving them to danger of rustling.Miyatti said it is therefore shocked at the press statement by SOKAPU, accusing it of resorting to blackmail against victims of their aggression.It urged media organisations and the public to ignore the statement and be impartial by visiting the scenes and listening to all sides.What is most needed at this stage from SOKAPU and all other stakeholders is partnership and cooperation that will lead to durable peace and social harmony.It also stated: We wish to clearly state that the Fulani pastoralists are equal victims of the atrocities of bandits who spare nobody. They are constantly rustling cows, kidnapping pastoralists and killing whenever they fail to pay ransoms as demanded by the bandits. Attacks on communities by bandits have nothing to do with Fulani pastoralists.It appealed to the state and local government, traditional leaders and peace loving citizens in the state to initiate interventions to restore peace in the area.SOKAPU however insisted that, For the 7th day running, nightly siege on Atyap Community has continued with the death toll, number of churches and homes burnt rising.On 13th July, 2021, two persons were killed as armed Fulani herdsmen invaded Magata and Magori villages in Atyap Chiefdom, Zangon Kataf Local Government Area (LGA) in Southern Kaduna. The father and son were killed in Magata where the assailants also burnt 8 homes and the Catholic Church in the village. The attackers then moved to the next village, Magori, but met a deserted place.They took their time, looted the village and loaded their bounty into the five Hilux vans they were driving in and burnt down all the 19 houses in the small village. The attackers then returned to Makarau that was attacked on Monday and burnt down the ECWA and Anglican Churches whose two pastoruims were burnt in last Monday afternoon attacks.Our members of the Amawa ethnic nationalities who settled in an Atyap community called Badawa, a remote farming community close to the banks of River Kaduna, under Gora ward, have reported that 5 of their kinsmen were killed and 12 homes and 45 cows rustled on the 11th July, 2021 after they were attacked by armed herdsmen.It said, This brings to 40 the number of persons killed, 254 homes and 7 churches burnt in an unbroken and unrestrained violence unleashed on poor, armless innocent farmers in Atyap Chiefdom by armed herdsmen in the past 7 days. We have received information that the attackers are bragging that Atyap land and the entire southern Kaduna belongs to them and as such if our members would not leave, they would use terror and chase them out.
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