Anarchy, humanitarian crisis & failure to protect citizens in Southern Kaduna

August 11, 2020
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  • Federal government must intervene, without further delay, to halt the reign of terror and mass atrocities in Southern Kaduna: end the unprovoked attacks, mass killings, displacement and impoverishment of men, women and children

  • President Buhari should declare a state of emergency to restore public order and security in Kaduna State

RULAAC is seriously disturbed about the total break down of law and order and the reign of terror, violence, blood letting, destruction, arson, looting and impunity by bandits in Southern Kaduna, Kaduna State.

For several weeks, bands of marauders variously described as bandits, militia, herdsmen and insurgents have been on the prowl, daily inflicting terror by carrying out attacks, mass killings and destruction of homes of defenceless members of communities in Southern Kaduna. Leaders of the communities complain that security agents stand aloof and watch as men, women and children are massacred, their houses set ablaze and their communities rendered desolate, with survivors rendered homeless and displaced. Residents of the communities are caught in the mix of fear and anxiety about their safety on the one hand and impoverishment and hunger on the other, as their farms – the main source of livelihood for most of them – are also destroyed by armed ‘herders’. The curfew imposed by government- while not checkmating the attackers, rather restricts movement for the victims of attacks and renders them unable to go out and look for food and other essentials. In all this, government has failed to respond to protect the communities and restore public order.

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The high level of insecurity in Kaduna State has hindered RULAAC monitors in Kaduna State from continuing to monitor police conduct in the context of enforcement of Inspector-General of Police’s Covid-19 directives and government ordered health and safety protocols.

RULAAC has received reports from its monitors in Kaduna and from several other sources of unchallenged daily attacks on communities in southern Kaduna resulting in high numbers of human casualties, kidnappings, rape, destruction and looting of homes and farms and dislocation of families.

These attacks are happening almost on a daily basis in spite of the curfew imposed by the Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai since March 2020 and notwithstanding the high numbers of security agencies and establishments including the police, military and the state security service in the state.

Despite the huge presence of security agencies in the state, there is no security response to these incessant attacks. Communities are left practically at the mercy of the rampaging bandits who operate without challenge, attacking, killing and injuring hundreds of defenceless residents in communities. Community representatives also report that their distress calls and outcry for help have been ignored by the state government and security agencies in the state.

RULAAC monitors in Kaduna State have identified some of the security organizations and establishments in Kaduna State

1. Division 1 of the Nigerian Army

2. 44 Barracks

3. Artillery barracks Kajuru

4. Chindit barracks Zaria

5. Kalapanzi barracks

6. Nigeria Defence Academy

7. Command and staff College Jaji

8. School of Artillery Kachia (Navy And Army),

9. Army School of geography (with barracks and active service men)

10. Air force base Mando

11. Police college

12. Kaduna State Police Headquarters

13. Mopol 1 of the Nigeria Police Force

14. New Mobile Police squadron units in Birnin Gwari, Kubau,Zango Kataf, Fadan Karshi in Sanga LGA, Kafanchan in Jema’a LGA, Kajuru, and Kauru LGA.

15. Civil Defence and Safety Corps

16. States security services (SSS), etc

Despite this huge security presence in Kaduna State and the curfew in place, all these mass atrocities have continued unabated without any of the bandits arrested or the communities protected from their further onslaught. Instead, when citizens protest against attacks, they are arrested by the same security agencies that have failed to protect them from attacks.

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This state of lawlessness has been prolonged; the attacks have been frequent, regular and often announced and carried out with ease and devastating efficiency. Community leaders have reported that the bandits usually give notice of date and time of their planned attacks and when they inform security agencies, they do nothing until the bandits actually carry out their murderous attacks and leave unchallenged. Distress calls during these attacks also do not receive any responses from government and security agencies.

It is either that the Kaduna State Governor does not have the capacity to rein in the rampaging bandits or he simply does not want to do anything about it. He has, in any case, abdicated or failed in his responsibility to provide equal security for all citizens in the state irrespective of religious, ethnic or other identity affiliations.

There are valid basis for strong suspicion that the state is complicit in these hateful attacks. If the state is not complicit, then the only other logical deduction would be that the Kaduna State Government lacks the capacity to provide equal protection for all citizens of the state. Whatever may be the case, we believe that the Kaduna State Governor has failed the people and a state of emergency is therefore warranted.

Is it really true that the bandits have upper hand over security forces? Who are these bandits? Where are they from? And what are the sources of the sophisticated weapons they bear? Is the SSS (or DSS as they prefer to call themselves) only efficient and brave when it comes to ‘uncovering subversive plots’ by government critics, political opponents and harmless, unarmed protesters and then going ahead to harass and victimise them?

Military authorities have declared that they don’t have enough resources or equipment to tackle the bandits.

RULAAC monitors in Kaduna quoted General Chukwuemeka Okonkwo, Commander of ‘Operation Safe Haven’ in Kaduna, as saying that the military does not have enough manpower to tackle the violence in the southern part of the state.

“And we have limitation of manpower but of course you know that we are committed. But be that as it may, we are going to get more troops. We are strategizing, we will deploy as much as possible to shorten our response time. Perhaps, we used to respond a bit late, but if we had not responded, we could have had more casualties.”

What about other security agencies serving or deployed to provide security in the state?

The Kaduna State Governor has failed the people of Southern Kaduna. Security agencies have also failed them. If the President is aware of the atrocities going on in Kaduna State, and if he is genuinely concerned and committed to the welfare and security of all Nigerian citizens, irrespective of ethnic origin, religious affiliation, political leaning or social class, then he must intervene urgently to end the violence, killings, destruction and social dislocation of people in Southern Kaduna communities. This banditry must not only be stopped but the bandits must also be arrested and brought to book.

Law and order must be restored, destroyed communities must be rebuilt, livelihoods must be restored, victims must be adequately compensated. And public confidence in the state and in democracy must be rebuilt.

~~~

Report from RULAAC covid-19 monitors for Kaduna State

Monitoring police action within the framework of Covid 19 lockdown and curfew in Kaduna for July 2020

The outbreak of the COVID-19 has necessitated a total lockdown in Kaduna state. The goal of the total restriction on human and vehicular movement was to curtail the spread of the deadly Coronavirus ravaging the world. Even interstate travels to and from the state were banned.

From March 25, 2020, when the lockdown came into effect in Kaduna state, to Friday, May 15, 2020, sixteen (16) armed attacks were carried out across five (5) LGAs. In the attacks, fifty-nine (59) people were killed with about one hundred and fifty-five (155) houses burnt down, while hundreds were left with permanent injuries, under a 24-hour time frame. Twenty-nine (29) people were killed from five attacks on four villages of Gonan Rogo, Idanu-Doka, Ungwan Rani-Doka and two attacks on Makyali village in Kajuru LGA. The worst cases of injured survivors with severe machete cuts on their bodies are from these attacks. The boldness of the bandits, kidnappers and attackers, and the brazen way the attacks were carried is so sad.

While the attackers moved around easily despite the lockdown and curfew, residents of Kaduna could not and those who dared were considered violators of the lockdown, arrested and fined. More pointedly, is the fact that nobody has been arrested for the killing of these fifty-nine (59) people, mostly children, old people and women. From the attack on Labi village on Thursday, March 25, 2020 in Chikun local government where five (5) people were killed to the attack on Makyali village in Kajuru Local government on Wednesday, May 13, 2020, where eleven (11) people were killed, it has been daily tales of pain and destruction under the 24 hour lockdown.

Recently, during the 24 hours curfew in Zangon Kataf, about sixty-four (64) people were killed in less than 10 days of coordinated attacks in rural villages. Four villages in Zangon Kataf Local Government were attacked between Friday 11th–12th, July 2020 and about twenty-nine (29) people killed. Five (5) people were killed at Efele Doka village in Kajuru Local Government (epic centre of attacks since 2018, which led to the ethnic crisis in October 2018) was attacked on 17th July, 2020. Kukum Daji in Kaura Local Government was next, on Sunday, 19th July where eighteen (18) people were killed, while Gora Gan in Zangon Kataf Local Government was attacked on Monday, 20th July, and ten (10) people were killed.

As we report both Local government Areas are on total curfew, Mobile Police and The Military have been deployed to enforce the curfew. The injured and those critically ill are on admission at the Zonkwa General Hospital and Throneroom Hospital, Kafanchan; St Gerald Catholic Hospital and Barau Dikko Specialists Hospital in Kaduna metropolis.

The level of insecurity in Kaduna state is so high that citizens have to retire home very early for fear of being kidnapped or killed.

Kaduna South is not the only zone affected by these attacks. Two weeks ago, over twenty (20) persons were kidnapped and two (2) killed on their way to the New Millennium City in Kaduna town. Birnin Gwari forest is a known hide out for bandits, militia, herdsmen and insurgents.

What baffles everyone is that despite the high numbers of military and police formations in Kaduna state and other security personnel deployed to all the hotspots these kidnapping, banditry and attacks continue on daily basis.

As we write this report, people are scared to go their farms, for fear of being kidnapped, killed or raped, which is very alarming, and this situation may lead to food insecurity in the state, if something is not done on time, as Kaduna state is known as an agrarian state.

What is more worrisome is the silence of the state Governor Mallam Nasiru El Rufai, who has sworn to protect the lives and property of the citizens in Kaduna and constitutionally the Chief Security Officer of the state. His silence has given room to conspiracy theories that has heightened tension in the states.

We pray that the governor and his security team adopt more creative ways of securing the people with the fact that more people have died during these restrictions, which renders the curfew imposition useless.

As a result of the state of insecurity in Kaduna state, we the monitors in Kaduna have not been able to fully monitor for our safety.



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