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Relentless attacks despite the COVID-19 lockdown

5 Oct 2020

by Reuben Buhari 
Research and Press Officer, CSW Nigeria

Based on the need to curtail the spread of the deadly COVID-19, states in Nigeria started enforcing a total ban on human and vehicular movement. Kaduna state, northwest Nigeria, followed suit to ban all forms of movement. Even interstate travels were banned. Government and security men were everywhere ensuring total compliance.

Although the ban has since been lifted, attacks by Fulani militia on Christian villages, especially in the rural areas of Southern Kaduna, have killed more people* in Kaduna state  than the coronavirus itself.

Information gathered by CSW’s Nigeria office shows that in all instances, the heavily armed Fulani militia carried out the attacks and left before security men responded. Even more telling is the fact that, unlike previous attacks, the ones under the COVID-19 lockdown were boldly carried out on villages that lie on busy highways with GSM networks.

From 25 March 2020, when the lockdown came into effect to 15 June 2020, when the state government lifted it, Fulani militia carried out 17 attacks across five Local Governments. They killed 78 people and burnt down about 165 houses, while hundreds were displaced from their villages into makeshift camps for internally displaced persons. Additional 50 people are still missing months later from villages across River Kaduna, in Kajuru local government area of the state, which were attacked between 19 May and 23 May. The survivors are still unable to go back to count or bury their dead because the Fulani gunmen have refused to leave the villages.

In fact, under a 24-hour time frame, 29 people were killed in five attacks on four villages of Gonan Rogo, Idanu- Doka, Ungwan Rani-Doka and two attacks on Makyali in Kajuru LGA, all south of Kaduna city. The worst cases of injured survivors with severe machete cuts on their bodies are from these attacks.

The boldness of the attackers and the brazen way the attacks were carried out was glaring in Makyali village, south of Kaduna metropolis and about 50 kilometres from the city centre, which was attacked on Wednesday 13 May 2020, at around 7am. Then by 11am, the attackers came back in greater number and attacked the village. Eleven were killed while three additional youth got killed when they pursued the gunmen into the bush. But the worrisome aspect of the attack is that a military checkpoint sits close to the village. There is another one in Idon village some kilometres away and another after crossing the village.

And while the attackers easily moved around, residents of Kaduna could not and those who dared to were considered violators of the lockdown orders, arrested and fined.

More pointed is the fact that nobody has been arrested for the killing of these 78 people. While the Coronavirus that influenced the lockdown has killed 12 people in the state so far, as of 11 August 2020, Fulani militia killed 78, mostly children, old people and women.

From the attack on Labi village on 25 March 2020 in Chikun local government where five people were killed to the attack on 3 June, 2020 on the village of Tudun Agwalla in Kajuru local government where nine people were killed and several houses burnt down, it has been tales of blood and sorrow for the Christians in Kaduna state.

CSW’s Nigeria office also found out that a lot of attacks and kidnappings continue to happen in remote villages which go unreported. Some people, tired from constant attacks and kidnapping, packed up and abandoned their villages, and are now staying in makeshift internally displaced person’s camps within Kaduna city.

However, since the lifting of the COVID-19 restriction, the attacks on Christian villages have continued. From 15 June to 6 August, 11 attacks were recorded across four local government areas of Kajuru, Zangon Kataf, Kauru and Jema’a. 107 people were killed, thousands displaced and dozens left with permanent injuries. The total deaths from 25 March to 6 August 2020 stands at 185, excluding those who later died in the hospitals from gunshots and machete injuries.


Although these stories are incredibly hard to read, we know that God remains sovereign over all, and a day is coming when his mercy and justice will reign. Your prayers are needed now more than ever.



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