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Kajuru Killings: stories of murder, rape and government’s rhetoric

West & Central Africa

Kajuru Killings: stories of murder, rape and government’s rhetoric

Report by Hassan John

Over 71 people were killed and over 28 injured, on Monday March 11, in Dogon Noma, Kajuru Local Council, about two hours’ drive south west of Kaduna, the State capital, Central Nigeria, when Fulani herdsmen militia attacked the village, “torching houses, shooting and hacking down anything that moved,” according to eye witness accounts.

Houses in Karamai village destroyed by Fulani Militia- Photo Credit: Hassan John

The Dakachi, (village head) Ibrahim Usman, in his account, said “at about 6:02 am, we heard gunshots, we had earlier been informed that Dogon Noma will be next in the attacks that pervaded the region since early February. We were told in a phone call that the Fulanis were at Angwan Balde, another village that suffered a similar fate, on Sunday, the day before we were attacked. We organized some youths to keep watch at night. By morning the youths went back to their various homes. Then the attack came and those that could run were able to escape but many were killed and several houses completely burnt,” Usman said.

Veronica said she carried her six months old baby on her back when the shootings started, she ran with her daughter just to realise that she was face to face with a group of the attackers, “I pleaded for my life but they jeered at me and one of them grabbed my arm and struck his machete and chopped off my finger,” Veronica said tears welling up in her eyes. “He gave the finger to my six months old baby and told her ‘to eat the finger of her mother’. I begged him to have mercy on the little girl. I told my daughter, Cynthia, to beg him, Cynthia repeated what I said, ‘please have mercy’ twice, he just raised his machete and struck, hacking her down from my back. The blood splattered all over me. Then they were on top of me. After that, then they struck me behind my ears… When I later regained consciousness, I saw where my index finger was cut off, the other long finger was dangling on a skin. It was then I saw another machete wound on the arm and the broken bone. I saw my daughter’s body lying beside me with my chopped finger in her mouth. I tried to move, to remove it, but couldn’t. I moved my leg and removed the finger from her mouth with my foot.” Veronica’s voice soft and low as she narrated her ordeal.

Veronica whose six months old baby was killed on her back – Photo Credit : Hassan John

“I later heard the voice of my brother saying, “here is my sister, they have also killed her!” This was later in the day when they were collecting bodies together for mass burial,” Veronica continued in a suppressed sob, “I then tried to move and told them I was not dead. I passed out again and didn’t know what happened till I found myself here,” in a small local health clinic where Global Christian News met her. The health worker had stitched the wounds but told her she will have to wait for the skin to heal before the issue of the broken bone is addressed. The reporter however made arrangements and she was taken to Jos, the Plateau State capital, about two and half hours’ drive away.

Reverend Daniel Adamu, an Anglican Priest, who took in over four hundred refugees in his Church and spent days conveying dozens of people in his small saloon car to safety, showed Global Christian News a 5-year-old girl. “Someone brought her from Dogon Noma, all her parents were killed, she was attacked with a machete and left for dead.” The little girl, Stella, had large stitches on the right side of her swollen face indicating she possibly needed more medical examinations. Global Christian News immediately made arrangements to convey her to a university teaching hospital in Jos.

Some survivors assessing the carnage in Karamai – Photo credits: Hassan John

The persistent attacks by Islamist Fulani Herdsmen on predominantly Christian farming communities in the middle belt region of Nigeria has ranked the Fulani Herdsmen among the five top deadliest terrorist organizations in the world but the Nigerian government has consistently shown its unwillingness to engaging them, as it has done with the radical Islamic sect Boko Haram.

At least 7 villages were attacked, early February, and nearly 300 people were killed.  

The attack on Karamai village, the Dakachi, Micah Musa said, “killed 41 people.” The village head said “they came at day break, February 14, at about 6:00 am, flanking the village in a long line from the west. They were about two to three hundred of them, they may be more. It was early in the morning and we could see them approaching and chanting ‘Allahu Akbar!’ as they fired their guns. There was panic and people fled in different directions. They shot and hacked and set houses ablaze including the Church, ECWA (Evangelical Church Winning All), which they also vandalised,” the Dakachi told Global Christian News.

This attack was the third, Micah Musa, the community leader, has experienced. “They killed my father, some years back in one of the attacks. He was targeted and shot but I was able to escape the killing,” Musa said narrating his ordeal. “Then they came back again, last year, but this time only seven of them came. Three were armed with AK 47s and the other four had machetes. They came at about 8:00 pm and said they had come only to kill the village head and nothing more. I told them he had gone out and said I was only visiting for the night. They then asked me if I have a wife and I told them she was in another room. They asked me to call her. They then ordered her to give them food, she did and they ate. They then asked for money and when I said I didn’t have, they hit me with a gun, knocking out a tooth from my mouth. They led me into the bedroom and took all the money I had and then made me sit down with a gun to my chest. They made my wife lie in from of me and all the seven of them raped her one after the other as I watched. They left only when they were finished,” Michah Musa said.

Micah Musa and his wife as they complete loading their belongings as the wife prepares to leave the village – Photo credit: Hassan John

Michah Musa loaded the remaining bags of groundnuts, soya beans and corn that survived the fire in his house into a small bus, with a mattress and few belongings. “We are sending all the women and children out of the village, only the men will remain to keep watch for now,” he said, explaining that since the last attack, “soldiers came and stayed for only about a week and left. That was only because the governor, Nasiru El-Rufai came and all he said was he will send me a satellite phone so that anytime the village is attacked I can get directly to him. He said he will build the road into the village and that he hated the killings and destruction of property. Since then nothing has happened.” The village head said.

Youths abandoned to their fate and left to protect their village – Photo credit: Hassan John

The only security the village had, when Global Christian News visited, was a hunter’s Dane gun in the hand of young man keeping watch. What that will do against hundreds of trained Fulani militia with an AK 47s, backed by governments politically correct rhetoric with little or no action against the massive anarchy and injustices perpetuated on vulnerable villages, is left to be seen. What is most certain in these villages, as it has been in the predominantly Christian dominated villages of central Nigeria, is that the attacks and killings will happen again.

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