About 50 persons including a pastor, four pregnant women, children and a soldier were killed in an attack on Fadan-Karshi villages of Sanga Local Government of Kaduna State early Wednesday, residents and local officials said.
Witnesses who spoke to journalists said two other soldiers were seriously injured in the attack and are presently receiving treatment at the Gwantu General Hospital among hundreds of other residents.
Governor Ramalan Yero of Kaduna State called for calm, saying those responsible will be brought to justice. He described the attack an “attempt by enemies of peace aimed at truncating the present stable atmosphere in the state”.
“It is sad and unfortunate that some devious characters from within the State are conniving with unpatriotic elements from outside to unleash unwarranted mayhem on communities that were hitherto less vulnerable to attacks,” a statement signed by his spokesperson, Ahmed Maiyaki, said.
The killings followed a series of attacks that have rocked the area since April 2014.
Over 300 people, mostly women and children, have died since then.
A resident, Mike Sanga, told journalists in Kaduna that the attackers invaded Fadan Karshi Daji and nearby communities burning houses including a church where several cars were parked.
“In our counting, 12 people were killed in Fadan Karshi, 30 in Fadan Karshi Daji, seven others in another community. A pastor and another person were also killed at Ungwar Ganye,” he said.
Another resident, Bitrus Solomon, who escaped the attack, said the gunmen came in the late hours of Tuesday 16th September 2014 at about 12am and set houses on fire.
“I was lucky I was not asleep and because my house is not close to where they started burning and shooting, I escaped into the bush. Those who could not run where shot dead at the spot while others were burnt in their homes,” said Mr. Solomon.
Mr. Bitrus said he counted more than 20 dead bodies after the raid.
The Vice Chairman of the Sanga Local Government Council, Bulus Anzah, said pregnant women, the elderly and children were killed while hundreds of residents fled their homes to unknown destinations.
Mr. Anzah, who spoke on behalf of the council chairman, Emmanuel Danzaria, said there were temporary camps set-up for some of the displaced persons and called on emergency agencies to support them.
“The attacks are getting worse every day. Some of the soldiers who attempted to repeal the attack were also injured. Another soldier was killed,” he said.
“Many of the injured are now receiving treatment at the Gwantu General hospital,” Mr. Anzah added.
An official of Kaduna State Emergency Management Agency, SEMA, confirmed that over 50 people were killed in the attack.
The official who didn’t want his name mentioned because he was not authorised to speak with press, said several houses including a church were burnt to ashes. He put the number of the Internally Displaced Persons at over 10,000.
Meanwhile, a nongovernmental group, Centre Initiative for Development and Fundamental Rights Advocacy, CEDRA, described the attack as barbaric.
The group in a statement issued by John Danfulani said the assailants killed many people, wounded over 40, burned down homes, and destroyed farmlands.
“Not long ago, the same area witnessed mass killings by the same unknown gunmen. In as much as we know that the country is facing difficult security challenges, we believe government’s reaction in terms of providing relief to the affected communities and injured persons leaves much more to be desired,” the group said.
“Many a times, their interventions are too little too late, despite having agencies like NEMA and SEMA at the federal and State levels. Worse, is government’s lack of moral courage to boldly accept failure in its number one duty- which is safeguarding lives and properties,” the statement said.
The group also slammed elected and appointed public office holders from Southern Kaduna saying, “They are a gigantic disappointment for their refusal to draw the attention of government to attacks in Southern Kaduna”.