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Nigeria

Nigeria: Fulani herder attack destroys community

19 Oct 2016

Heavily-armed Fulani herders attacked the Godogodo Chiefdom in Sanga Local Government Area (LGA), southern Kaduna State, from Saturday 15 October until the afternoon of Sunday 16 October, killing over 40 people and destroying almost every home.

According to reports obtained by Christian Solidarity Worldwide Nigeria (CSW-N), the herders entered the area at around 6pm, shooting wildly. Youth and adult men ran into the bush while women and children hid inside their homes. However, the herders set fire to buildings, burning at least ten women and two children beyond recognition. According to a local source, they also set fire to two mosques in the area “so that they would say it is the Christians there that started [the attack].”

The herders moved on to attack Nindu village, also in Godogodo Chiefdom, at around 10 am, killing two youth and seriously injuring three others.

Herder attacks on non-Muslim communities in the central Nigerian states of Kaduna, Plateau, Bauchi, Taraba and Benue have spiralled since May 2015. CSW Nigeria estimates over 85 people have died in herder attacks on Sanga and Kaura LGAs in southern Kaduna State since May 2016 alone. 

In a press release, the Southern Kaduna People’s Union (SOKAPU) said it was “a national shame and an indictment of the state government's commitment to security issues in Southern Kaduna that about seven villages in Godogodo Chiefdom are now completely deserted after being ransacked, burnt and the people killed.” The group also lamented the plight of “villages like Ninte, Akwa, Ungwan Anjo, and Antang, where the people had been sacked from their villages [and] the armed herdsmen have permanently taken over the villages and [are] boldly grazing their herds on the farms of the villagers.”

CSW's Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas said, “These continued attacks on Sanga and Kaura LGAs are unacceptable. The State government must make addressing this violence a priority as it is clear that herder attacks have been able to reach such disturbing proportions precisely because the issue has not been adequately addressed. In order to combat growing lawlessness and impunity that will ultimately undermine the wellbeing of the entire state, sufficient security must be drafted to targeted areas to ensure the protection of vulnerable communities as a matter of urgency, along with the stringent enforcement of a curfew. The authorities must also become proactive in apprehending, disarming and prosecuting perpetrators, and ensuring the return of land to communities that have been forcibly displaced.”

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