Church burnt and 40 more massacred in Kajuru
Report by Hassan John
About 40 more people have been killed in another wave of attacks on six villages; Karamai, Gidan Gajere, Gidan Auta and Chibiya villages, all in Maro district of Kajuru local council of Kaduna state, central Nigeria, by Islamic Fulani cattle herdsmen on Tuesday 26thFebruary, barely a fortnight after over 66 people were massacred the same community by Fulani herdsmen, bringing the death toll to over 100 in less than three weeks.
Paulina Irimiya, a witness, said her village was attacked at about 6.30 a.m., while they were in the church early that morning praying. “It all started while we were in the church during women’s fellowship in (Evangelical Church Winning All) ECWA Church when we heard gunshots and we all went out. As we all went out, we saw some of the houses being burnt by the attackers and some of them were chasing people into the bush to kill them. I do not know the whereabouts of my family members. I am on my way to another village that is close to ours,” Paulina narrated.
Another witness, Rachael, said she saw six dead people when she fled, “many houses were burnt, including the Church where women were having their fellowship. As I am talking to you, I have lost my uncle and my grandfather and I have counted four other corpses,” Rachael said.
Reacting in the usual government narrative and clichés after every attack, the Kaduna state government said, “the government is saddened by these attacks, condemns the perpetrators and urges all residents of the area to support the security agencies in their efforts to protect communities,” Samuel Aruwan, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Media and Publicity stated.
The governor, Mallam El Rufai, had promised severally to protect the predominantly Christian villages and even at some point went further to pay the Fulani Herdsmenso that they don’t attack the communities any more but these attacks on Christian communities have happened again and again prompting reprisals from the youths who feel the only justice they can get is a reprisal and acquiring weapons for self-defense.
In response to the attack and massacres, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Kaduna State chapter, pleaded with the youths in the villages not to carry out any reprisal attack. The state chairman, Reverend Joseph Hayap said, “The attackers fled (after) they had already burnt houses and a church… We have appealed to the youths in the area that there must never be any reprisal. We want to give the security operatives in the state the benefit of the doubt to go after the killers. We don’t want any reprisal attack because the circle of violence and killings will continue,” Hayab said.
The State Commissioner of Police, Ahmad Abdur-Rahman, initially gave the figureof the dead as 29, including an policeman and said 40 houses were burnt in the attack. “We counted 40 houses burnt and a lot of people injured. At the time, we counted 27 persons dead, including a policeman; later we uncovered two more dead bodies, making it 29,” Ahmad said.
Abdur-Rahman also reiterated the usual cliché after every killing, “this kind of animalistic carnage must stop; the law enforcement agencies will never tolerate this nonsense again. Enough is enough, we are drawing battle line with any person who does not like peace to prevail in this our society,” He said,
The Police Commissioner said the perpetrators would be arrested and prosecuted.
“The government and Muslims in northern Nigeria have an agenda. It is common knowledge that the only thing that is likely to happen is that another village will be attacked, many more people will massacred and no one will be held accountable, especially not anyone in government for failing to stop the killings because the people killed are mostly Christians and the perpetrators are Muslims.” One of the witnesses of the massacre in Karamai village said as she sobbed, “we have nothing, no government to stand for us. We only have God. We know He is just, there will always be a day to account to Him,” she added.