The Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU), says suspected armed Fulani herdsmen, who came in Hilux vans, have killed not less than 100 Atyap natives in the last six days.
The spokesman of SOKAPU, Luka Binniyat disclosed this in a statement on Tuesday, saying about 24 villages were also burnt and hundreds of hectares of farmland bearing growing food crops destroyed.
He said, “For the 6th day running, armed gunmen, identified as Fulani herdsmen by victims, laid siege to several communities in Atyap land, Zangon Kataf Local Government Area (LGA) of Southern Kaduna and left no less than 33 people dead in an ongoing genocide and land grabbing in which 108 Southern Kaduna communities have been displaced and taken over by them since 2019.”
According to him, the invaders, in the latest killings, stormed Magamiya village in the night around eleven and attacked the family compound of the traditional ruler of Atyap Chiefdom, Agwatyap of Atyap Chiefdom, Sir Dominic Yahaya and other households.
He said the attackers, who came with a Hilux van, looted valuables and foodstuffs before setting the buildings ablaze. The 70- year old traditional ruler, Mr Toma Tauna was killed.
The same assailants, he said, also attacked Matyei village, where they burnt 156 homes, the Catholic Church in Matei and its pastorium. The Catchiest, simply known as Catchiest Yau, and an infant, were killed in the attack, while six (6) other persons were killed in the violence that lasted for over an hour, he added.
Binniyat further stated in the statement that the armed Fulani herdsmen then went down to Abuyab Community about 500 metres away and burnt down ECWA church, the home of Former ECOMOG Field Commander, Maj. Gen. Shekari Billyok (rtd) and other homes. But their attempt to attack Runji Community was repelled by villagers who got reinforcement elsewhere.
He said as the herdsmen retreated, they attempted to destroy part of the main bridge linking the communities with Zangon Kataf town and other Atyap Communities.
The same armed herdsmen came in Hilux vans and attacked the Atyap of Makarau and Kachechere Communities leaving 10 people confirmed dead, 12 houses razed after looting them.
The ECWA Church and the Anglican Church pastoriums that serves the communities were also set ablaze, according to the statement.
It read in part, “20 Atyap natives were killed by attackers (who all the villagers that saw them) identified as armed herdsmen between afternoon and today’s morning, Tuesday, 13 July, 2021.
“In the past 6 days, at least 33 Atyap natives of Zangon Kataf Area were massacred, 4 churches and 215 homes burnt by assailants always identified as armed herdsmen in a genocidal campaign that became so intensive since 2016.
“This wicked act and the complicit silence and inaction of government from taking steps to bringing the perpetrators and their leaders to justice”.
The statement added that the Atyap people have been consistent in accusing the Hausa settlers of Zangon Kataf semi urban town of harbouring killer herdsmen, lamenting that yet no authority has done anything about it.
SOKAPU called for humanitarian assistance for the thousands of displaced Atyap women and children who are still moving away from several villages to various places around Samaru Kataf, Zonkwa and environs.
The group urged Nigerian Human Rights Commission, Amnesty Internationals, the United Nations and all relevant international organizations, to mount pressure on the President Muhammadu Buhari government and the Kaduna State government to stop the genocide in Atyap land and bring the culprits to justice.