Bandits abduct 60 in Southern Kaduna Church — SOKAPU

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…Abductors demand N200m

By Idibia Gabriel, Kaduna

At least over 60 people have been reportedly abducted by bandits in a community popularly known as Kasuam Magain in Kajuru LGA of Kaduna state. They victims include women and little children and aged persons, that were abducted during a two-day operation carried out by the terror group in the community town and a church.

A statement signed by Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU) President, Awemi Dio Maisamari revealed that the bandits have confirmed 45 persons in their custody, and have demanded for a ransom of N200 million, “but negotiation is still ongoing.”

“There is still no breathing space for communities in Southern Kaduna.

“Terrorists, jihadists, bandits and armed herdsmen have continued to plunder and wreck communities in the Southern state. The latest are the mass abductions that took place on the 12th and 13th of September, 2022 at Kasuwan Magani in Kajuru LGA of Southern Kaduna,” it stated.

According to SOKAPU, the affected community, of Kasuwan Magani, is about 20km South of Kaduna metropolis, on Kaduna – Kafanchan Express road, and hosts the biggest weekly market in Kaduna State.

SOKAPU noted that “On the first day (12th September), 6 people were abducted in a night raid by the daredevil terrorists at Ungwan Fada part of the town.

“With no measures put in place to forestall recurrence, the following day (13th September), the terrorists stormed the Cherubim and Seraphim Church during a night vigil programme at the Bayan Kasuwa quarters of Kasuwan Magani town at around midnight.

“They succeeded in carting away more than sixty people from the church and neighbouring houses. However, they could not be able to take all of them away because some were very little children, too aged or had health challenges.

“While retreating with their captors to their camps, they attacked Janwuriya village, few kilometres from Kasuwan Magani and abducted two more persons.

“As of now, forty-five (45) persons have so far been confirmed,” it stated.

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

SOKAPU stated that they were therefore yet to know the identity or the fate of the 5 missing persons.

Similarly, it also disclosed that, “In other communities in Kajuru and Chikun LGAs, the occupying terrorists cohabit with the locals where the locals are treated like captives.

“They terrorise 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.

“In the last few months Southern Kaduna has also seen an unusual influx of thousands of herds of cattle and herdsmen from neighbouring states. They indulge in deliberate farm land 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. Worst hit are Sankwab, Gora Gida, Warkan, Ashong Ashui, Abuyab, Zamandabo, and Shiliam communities, in Atyap Chiefdom, Zangon Kataf Local Government Area  in Southern Kaduna.”

It added that, “Numerous, often clandestine agreements in many communities with suspected herdsmen and their fronts have yielded no positive result.”

According to release, “The Sector S7 Commander of Operation Safe Haven held a meeting of herdsmen, host community leaders and farmers on Wednesday, 14 September, 2022 at Kafanchan.

“At the meeting, desperate victims of the herdsmen 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,” it stated.

SOKAPU however expressed profound sympathy to indigenous communities and peaceful Fulani herdsmen affected by this cruelty,  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,” it added.