SOKAPU calls for international assistance
At least, 33 persons have been killed and others missing as gunmen hit Southern Kaduna in a new wave of attacks, the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU) said yesterday evening. The union called on the international community to come to their aid to stop what they called “government sponsored genocide against Southern Kaduna Communities”. Luka Binniyat, spokesman of the umbrella organization of all Southern Kaduna people, both home and in Diaspora in a statement said: “Last night, (Wednesday night and early hours of Thursday) 33 Atyap natives, who were among hundreds of thousands of already starving indigenes under a 24- hour rigidly imposed curfew that was 65 days yesterday, were killed in five Atyap villages in Atyap Chiefdom, Zangon Kataf LGA in Southern part of Kaduna State by Fulani militia.”
Binniyat listed the affected villages as “Apiashyim, Kibori, Apiako, Atakmawei and Magamiya. Prior to now, they were all shutdown with fierce armed military men patrolling and enforcing the 24-hour curfew. But when the gunmen struck, they were not on ground.” According to him: “Last night, around 11pm, truckloads of armed Fulani militia made their way through military checkpoints, under the curfew and stormed Apiashyim and Kibori villages. They laid siege to Apyaishyim killing, looting and burning houses. In the wake of the cruelty, they left six people dead, and 20 houses burnt.
“In nearby Kibori village, seven persons were killed by the marauding, pampered Fulani militia. “ Around 12am, they struck Atakmawei sleeping community and carried out another carnage after which 12 persons were killed and ten houses burnt. “They also went to Apyiako and killed three person, and burnt homes, including the home of late Col. Bobai Ishaku, among others. At the same time, Magamiya village was also attacked and five people killed and seven houses burnt.
“The attackers operated between 11pm and 4am before they left unchallenged. “According to the survivors, the Fulani militia included Fulani youths born and raised in the affected villages. “They would come to a compound and shout out the name of the occupants, challenging them to come out and face them.
“In Apiako, scared villagers, who hid under grown maize crops said they saw what looked like an armoured military truck pull up at the village square followed by familiar military motor bikes while the attackers were busy killing, but never made any attempt to stop them.” Earlier, there were reports that only 22 people were killed. New Telegrapgh learnt that the attacks occurred about 1a.m., under the cover of heavy rainfall. The gunmen attacked some of the villages simultaneously, killing, burning down houses and even looting valuables in their wake.
This was happening even when the 24- hour curfew slammed on the local government area and three others in the same Southern Kaduna was still in place. The attacks took place in Apyia’Shyim, A’Piako, Atak’Mawei and Kibori villages all in Atyap Chiefdom of Zangon Kataf Local Government Area. A source in the village said the attack took place while it was raining. “It rained all through the night in the area and the attackers killed people in their homes unchallenged by anyone or even the security operatives from about 10p.m., on Wednesday which entered the early hours of Thursday.
“By the time the attackers left and some of the villagers that were able to run into the bush came out, 22 corpses have so far been recovered, that was about 12p.m., on Thursday. The search is still on because many people are missing. They also burnt several houses,” the source said.