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Bandits attack church in Southern Kaduna, abduct over 40, demand N200m ransom

The Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU) has said that there is still no breathing space for communities in Southern Kaduna, as terrorists, jihadists, bandits and armed herdsmen have continued to plunder and wreck havoc in communities in the Southern part of the state.

Awemi Dio Maisamari, the SOKAPU President said in a statement on Monday that the latest was the mass abductions that took place on the 12th and 13th of September, 2022 at Kasuwan Magani in Kajuru LGA of Southern Kaduna.

Kasuwan Magani is about 20km south of Kaduna metropolis on the Kaduna – Kafanchan Express road and hosts the biggest weekly market in Kaduna State.

He said on the first day; 12th September, six people were abducted in a night raid by daredevil terrorists at Ungwan Fada part of the town, adding that with no measures put in place to forestall a recurrence, the following day; 13th September, the terrorists stormed the Cherubim and Seraphim Church during a vigil at the Bayan Kasuwa quarters of Kasuwan Magani town at around midnight and succeeded in carting away more than sixty people from the church and neighboring houses. However, they could not able to take all of them away because some were very little children, too aged, or had health challenges, he said.

According to the union, “while retreating with their captors to their camps, the bandits attacked Janwuriya village, a few kilometers from Kasuwan Magani, and abducted two more persons. As of now, 45 persons have so far been confirmed.

“But yesterday, 18th September 2022, they made contact with some persons in the town via phone calls and claimed that only 40 persons were held by them. They demanded a ransom of N200 million, but negotiation is still ongoing.

“We don’t know the identity or the fate of the five missing persons yet. In other communities in Kajuru and Chikun LGAs, the occupying terrorists cohabit with the locals where the locals are treated like captives. They are terrorised at will, making it difficult or impossible for them to till or harvest their farms. As a result, most early maturing crops are being left to rot on the farm. This is a daily experience in most occupied communities in Southern Kaduna,” he said.

SOKAPU said in the last few months, Southern Kaduna has also seen an unusual influx of thousands of herds of cattle and herdsmen from neighbouring states, adding that “they indulge in deliberate farmland destruction often at night; stealing of ripe farm crops and intimidation of helpless victim farmers.

“Hundreds of hectares of crops bearing farmlands valued in millions of Naira have been destroyed. Worse hit are Sankwab, Gora Gida, Warkan, Ashong Ashui, Abuyab, Zamandabo, and Shiliam communities, in Atyap Chiefdom, Zangon Kataf Local Government Area in Southern Kaduna.

“Numerous, often clandestine agreements in many communities with suspected herdsmen and their fronts have yielded no positive result. The Sector S7 Commander of Operation Safe Haven held a meeting of herdsmen, host community leaders and farmers on Wednesday, September 14, 2022 at Kafanchan. At the meeting, desperate victims of the herdsmen’s devastation told the Sector Commander that they were tired of holding fruitless meetings only for the violence to increase. This makes the meetings appear to serve the purpose of window dressing only.

“We know that our security agencies and personnel have the capacity to rout these enemies of the people and the state because their routes, locations and sometimes, even collaborators within and without are well known. SOKAPU is also not unaware of the immense suffering and sacrifices being made by our security forces, for which we appreciate.

“In view of the above, SOKAPU wishes to express profound sympathy to indigenous communities and peaceful Fulani herdsmen affected by this cruelty, we are calling on all communities not to let down their guards at this critical moment. Let us arise and prevent last minutes devastation of our dear people and our precious ancestral homeland. We will definitely survive this ill-wind, and even thrive once more in the land of our birth allotted to us by the Almighty,” the group stated.

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