Armed men invaded the Cherubim and Seraphim Church during a vigil programme at the Bayan Kasuwa quarters in Kajuru Local Government Area, abducting at least 45 people, the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU) told reporters on Monday.
The SOKAPO’s President, Awemi Maisamari, in a statement, said the terrorists kidnapped over 45 worshippers and other residents of the area.
Mr Maisamari said the abductors have contacted some families of the abducted persons.
Kidnapping for ransom is frequent in Kajuru in Southern Kaduna and many other local government areas in the state.
The victims include clerics, businesspersons, and other residents.
The kidnapping for ransom and killing by the non-state actors have continued in Kaduna and other states despite billion of naira budgeted for the security agencies. Kaduna, one of the worst hit states, has the highest number of security formations in the state.
Below is the full statement from the SOKAPU:
PRESS STATEMENT FROM SOUTHERN KADUNA PEOPLES UNION (SOKAPU), 19TH SEPT, 2022.
There is still no breathing space for communities in Southern Kaduna. Terrorists, jihadists, bandits and armed herdsmen have continued to plunder and wreck communities in the Southern state. The latest is the mass abductions that took place on the 12th and 13th of September, 2022 at Kasuwan Magani in Kajuru LGA of Southern Kaduna.
Kasuwan Magani is about 20km South of Kaduna metropolis on the Kaduna – Kafanchan Express road and hosts the biggest weekly market in Kaduna State.
On the first day (12th September), 6 people were abducted in a night raid by the daredevil terrorists at the Ungwan Fada part of the town.
With no measures put in place to forestall a recurrence, the following day (13th September), the terrorists stormed the Cherubim and Seraphim Church during a night vigil programme at the Bayan Kasuwa quarters of Kasuwan Magani town at around midnight. They succeeded in carting away more than sixty people from the church and neighbouring houses. However, they ‘were’ not able to take all of them away because some were very little children, too aged or had health challenges.
While retreating with their captors to their camps, they attacked Janwuriya village, a few kilometres from Kasuwan Magani and abducted two more persons.
As of now, forty-three (45) persons have so far, been confirmed.
But yesterday, 18th September 2022, they made contact with some persons in the town via phone calls and claimed that only 40 persons were held by them.
They demanded a ransom of N200 million, but negotiation is still ongoing.
We don’t know the identity or the fate of the 5 missing persons yet.
In other communities in Kajuru and Chikun LGAs, the occupying terrorists cohabit with the locals where the locals are treated like captives.
They are terrorised at will, making it difficult or impossible for them to till or harvest their farms. As a result, most early maturing crops are left to rot on the farm. This is a daily experience in most occupied communities in Southern Kaduna.
In the last few months, Southern Kaduna has also seen an unusual influx of thousands of herds of cattle and herdsmen from neighbouring states. They indulgence in deliberate farmland destruction often at night; stealing ripe farm crops and intimidating helpless victim farmers.
Hundreds of hectares of crops bearing farmlands valued in millions of Naira have been destroyed.
Worse hit is Sankwab, Gora Gida, Warkan, Ashong Ashui, Abuyab, Zamandabo, and Shiliam communities, in Atyap Chiefdom, Zangon Kataf Local Government Area in Southern Kaduna.
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Numerous, often clandestine agreements in many communities with suspected herdsmen and their fronts have yielded no positive result. The Sector S7 Commander of Operation Safe Haven held a meeting of herdsmen, host community leaders and farmers on Wednesday, 14 September 2022 at Kafanchan. At the meeting, desperate victims of the herdsmen’s devastation told the Sector Commander that they were tired of holding fruitless meetings only for the violence to increase. This makes the meetings appear to serve the purpose of window dressing only.
We know that our security agencies and personnel can rout these enemies of the people and the state because their routes, locations and sometimes, even collaborators within and without are well known. SOKAPU is also not unaware of the immense suffering and sacrifices being made by our security forces, which we appreciate.
Given the above, SOKAPU wishes to express profound sympathy to indigenous communities and peaceful Fulani herdsmen affected by this cruelty. We are calling on all communities not to let down their guards at this critical moment. Let us arise and prevent last minutes devastation of to our dear people and our precious ancestral homeland. We will survive this ill wind and even thrive once more in the land of our birth allotted to us by the Almighty.