Many residents of southern Kaduna are gripped by fear following the pace at which alleged Fulani gunmen are capturing villages on strategic hills in the area.
Last week, the Atakad Community Development Association, ACDA, said that gunmen have captured 16 Atakad villages, and killed at least 180 people with 10,000 forced to become refugees since the violence started in 2013.
Most of Atakad land is located on the lush-green hills and valleys of the lengthy Kagoro range of highland , in Kaura LGA of Kaduna State. It is about 250km south of Kaduna metropolis.
Speaking to newsmen after the burial ceremony of district head allegedly killed by Fulani, the National President, ACDA, Mr. Ishaya Kunden, said the world was not interested in their plight, even when, according to him, they formed part of the most traumatized of human society.
Said Kuden: “Since these invasions and killings of our people started on the 24th March, 2013, we have lost 16 villages to Fulani invaders. At the last count, 180 people have been killed. Right now, Fulani men are fully settled with their cattle and families, in Mayit, Agwom, Zakai Gira, Tunga Magwot, Telak, Zakum and Kirim. Go there and see them. Their cattle are grazing on everything we left be behind.
“The world has forgotten about us, as if we are not human beings. As if are we not part of the most injured in human society. 10,000 Atakad natives are now homeless and are wondering from relations to churches and anywhere they can get assistance. The state government has done very little to help. Only the Churches and some NGOs are coming in with relieve materials to victims still hanging around. All our children are out of Schools. Men cannot go back to their farms. It is horrible. All we are asking is more soldiers and a few things to defend ourselves. We can return if we get that assistance”.
The overall chief of Atakad chiefdom, Chief Tobias Nkom Wada, in his remarks during the burial service at the Baptist Church Manchok, said: “The people of southern Kaduna must be united to fight this dangerous trend.
“They want to take over our hills and use it as a launch pad to invade the entire southern Kaduna. That is why they are killing our people in Sanga and chasing them from the hills. Southern Kaduna people and those governing us cannot afford to see these series of murder of innocent people keep on. I call on our brothers in Ganawuri, who are accommodating the Fulani in their lands to see reasons to negotiate both with us and the Fulani”.
The burial was attended by prominent traditional rulers from Southern Kaduna, the clergy and a broad segment of Atakad and Maroa communities amidst heavy security mounted by the police and the military.
A security source said there was an attempt, last Monday night, by some Fulani gunmen to dislodge the military stationed on the border of Plateau State and Kaduna State, from where the invaders usually sneaked into Kaduna.
“There was exchange of gunfire between our men and some marauders from Ganawuri, Plateau border with us that lasted till this morning. We repelled them, and there was no casualty from any side,” he said.
Indeed, the Atakad and the Ateng tribes who live in Ganawuri have had long disputes over land. The Ateng fingered the Atakad as being responsible for the murder of their chief sometime in the ‘70s. Since then their relationship has been frosty despite several attempts to make them friends again. The Fulani are said to be well accommodated by the Ateng from where they launch their attacks on the Atakad.