The Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU) has reacted to last weekend’s killing of five persons in Zangon Kataf Local Government area, promising to go on the offensive against those who are responsible for the incessant killings in the area.
The umbrella organization of the Southern Kaduna people said in a press briefing in Kaduna that the military personnel under the Joint Task Force (JTF) in the area, having failed to shield the people from violent attacks, should be removed to enable the people to protect themselves. Recounting the events of last weekend, SOKAPU President, Dr. Ephraim Goje told journalists that the ordeal began between 9 and 10 on Saturday morning 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 defenseless, unarmed people for no apparent reason,” he said, adding that the attackers were said to be Fulani. In addition to the five persons who were killed, Goje said six were critically wounded and are receiving treatment at the Jos Teaching Hospital, while four others were at St. Louise Hospital in Zonkwa. “A five- month old baby was among the victims,” he said. “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 manners. 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.” He spoke of the strenuous efforts the elders had made to keep the youths under control.
“[The youths] told us that this will be the last blood to be shed in Southern Kaduna,” he recalled. “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 up 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 was most shocking, he added, is that whenever anyone is arrested in connection with the violence, they are set 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 neighborhood community watch in every community here and fund it. They will work with the police. The message is that, enough is enough.”
It would be recalled that in November 2012, following the killing and burning of six members of a family, including two pregnant women, in Southern Kaduna, the Youth Wing of SOKAPU warned in a statement that there seemed to be more to the killings than met the eye. “Our tolerance and silence should not be taken for weakness,” they said, calling on the security agencies to do more to protect their people, or else they would have to defend themselves.