Police, security personnel lament refusal by southern Kaduna communities to end crisis
Despite all efforts by Kaduna State government and security operatives to restore peace to the troubled Southern Kaduna Communities, genuine peace seemed not to be in sight as the warring parties were not ready for sincere dialogue, police authorities have said.
The Commissioner of Police, Kaduna State Police Command, Agyole Abeh while leading journalists on the tour of the recently attacked communities around Kafanchan, Jema’a Local Government Area of the state yesterday said that though normalcy has returned to the area but there were still pockets of isolated killings in form of reprisal attacks.
The Police boss, who decried the non-readiness of the two opposing parties for dialogue due to fear of the unknown despite the overwhelming presence of security personnel in the area, explained that the best way to resolve whatever grievance between the Fulani herdsmen and the natives may have remained dialogue.
According to him, the 24-hour curfew imposed on two local councils a few days ago was relaxed on Thursday evening but security operatives were forced to re-impose it this morning based on intelligence report they heard over the night that some mischief-makers may foment trouble before the daybreak.
Said the police boss: “We assessed that the peace process meeting may not hold based on what we heard over the night about Bankin Kogi, Asim and two other places. We have been having continuous attacks here because each time a group attacks another group, there would be reprisal.
“So, most of the attacks are not heard or reported until there is reprisal. We learnt that armed herders were attacked and there was reprisal.
“In one of the latest attacks, a distress call was made and we responded by confronting the attackers and in the process we lost one of our men. With enough force now on ground, the situation will be brought to a halt in conjunction with locals because we all begin to understand that there is no need for killings and reprisal.
“Special forces that was deployed by IGP are sleeping on mountains and giving on ground support to aerial surveillance, all to put the situation under control. But sincere dialogue remains the only alternative to restore lasting peace among the members of these communities”, the police chief added.
Also speaking, Brigadier-General Isa Ismail, 1 Division Garrison who recently located to join the forces on ground said, his observation has so far revealed that both parties are guilty on the ongoing bloody attacks against each other, saying they need to come together and work with security agencies to bring an end to the killings.
He insisted : “Both parties are guilty. We respond to distress call as against what people are saying that we delay in response. We remain neutral. We are here to prevent breakdown of law and order. We killed two of the attackers based on distress call we received while a policeman was also killed by attackers”.
The District Head of Dangoma, Mamuda Suleiman argued that there had not been any attack on his community after the December incident, adding, “even when there was attack then, they did not go on reprisal and that is partly responsible for relative peace we are having here”.
Meanwhile, a resident of Amere North, Goska District, Mr. Timothy Gimba said though there is relative peace since the arrival of security personnel, he, however, expressed worry that the people have not been able to go to farm either to harvest or prepare for the next planting season.
According to him, “the security personnel are working seriously and that has given us some of mind for the past three days. But then, we cannot go to our farms. Fulani have taken over. Our district head attempted to go to his farm but he was chased away by these Fulani people. We are pleading with these security personnel to help chase these invaders away so we can go to farm. March is here when we suppose to go to farm and start preparation for the next planting season”.
As at the time of newsmen’s visit to Kafanchan, the headquarters of Jema’a local council, the major roads had become a ghost community, apart from security men who were on constant parade with a view to bringing the situation under control. This situation led to forceful shutdown of businesses, banks, schools, telecommunications, filling stations and other small businesses.
There were pockets of illegal roadblocks in Kafanchan suspected to have been mounted by angry youths from the area.
However, in places like Taka Sabon Gari, Ambam Kanim, Goska, Dangoma and Bakin-Kogi, people were sighted sitting in front of their houses, while Muslim faithful were seen observing their Jumat religious rites.