A report by www.worldwatchmonitor.org has detailed how Fulani herdsmen have seized and occupied 16 villages in southern Kaduna with their cattle and families, after terrorising Christian natives.
The attacks in Southern Kaduna by Fulani herdsmen is still a major topic in the polity. The attacks have bring to the fore, the challenges of indigenes of Kaduna state. The issue is now attracting global attention
According to the report, there were a string of other attacks against indigenous Christian communities in southern Kaduna over the 2016 Christmas period.
“The gunmen came to my village. As they entered, they were shouting and chanting ‘Allahu akhbar’ [Allah is the greatest], and in the twinkling of an eye, 45 people were killed.”
“They shot at pigs and stole goats, sheep and grain, while they burnt churches and houses,” said a survivor, who did not wish to be named.
Between 7-12 January, a large number of heavily-armed Fulani herdsmen targeted the Christian communities of Kagoro and Kafanchan, two towns where families have been hosting people displaced by previous attacks, local sources told World Watch Monitor.
The attackers destroyed most of the surrounding villages and farms, while countless bodies were abandoned in the bush because people were too scared to collect them after those who tried to do so were attacked.
According to the leadership of the Catholic Diocese of Kafanchan, a total of 808 people were killed in 53 villages across four local government areas in southern Kaduna from April to the end of 2016.
The church leaders said 57 people were injured; farm produce estimated at N5.5 billion (US$18m) was destroyed, and a total of 1,422 houses and 16 churches were burnt down.
Conflict in southern Kaduna has a long history more than the issues of indigenes versus settlers, Christians versus Muslims or farmers versus herdsmen, Christians say it’s about marginalisation and exclusion.
Since colonial times, there has been the imposition of Hausa-Fulani Muslim chiefs over minority-Christian groups. Many indigenous ethnic groups have been forcefully brought under the Sokoto Caliphate.
Their traditional chiefdoms have been turned into emirates and their chiefs are forced to be Muslims. These chiefs, most of the time, control the right to allocate land to Muslims and Hausa-Fulani herdsmen, stifling the indigenous right to land.
As tribes and ethnic groups become more politically aware in southern Kaduna, many indigenous communities say they want to rectify this historical injustice.