From January to July 2020, at least 178 persons were killed in local government areas of Southern Kaduna, data from Civic Media Lab’s life count and media report of killings gathered by SaharaReporters show.
Gunmen of Fulani ethnicity reportedly perpetrated most of the attacks. Reports say 207 arrests were made last week.
The figure (178) was calculated based on media reports. Some of the deaths were unreported, implying the figure is higher. For instance, Human rights group, Inter-Society, reckons that 300 persons were killed in southern Kaduna between January 1 and July 20, 2020.
The organisation said 152 of the murders were recorded in Kajuru local government alone.
In writing this report, Sahara Reporters defined southern Kaduna to mean the local governments of Kajuru, Kachia, Zangon-Kataf, Kaura, Kagarko, Jaba, Jema‘a, Sanga and Kajuru.
From January to June 2020, CML’s findings indicate that there were 83 deaths across the local governments listed. Most of them happened in Kajuru, home to the Adara ethnic group.
Inter-Society, on the other hand, estimates that there were 193 deaths across the lush planes of Southern Kaduna.
An international organisation, Christian Solidarity Worldwide, described the attacks in Southern Kaduna as a campaign of violence targeting communities in the area since January 2020.
CSW said the campaign had been characterised by murder, looting, rape, abductions for ransom and forced displacement.
Numbers from the killing fields
In January 2020, CML recorded two deaths from one incident. In February 2020, CML observed ten deaths from two reports.
Life count recorded an increased fatality of 14 deaths from three occurrences in March. In April, There was one incident with three people killed.
In May, 45 deaths were recorded from three attacks. There was one incident in June with nine deaths.
There was, however, the tenth one. Media reports say Yusuf Moses Magaji, the 32-year-old son of a retired preacher, was found dead in his farm.
Hausa/Fulani settlers reportedly occupied the place.
Members of the Atyap ethnic group went on a peaceful protest to register their anger and frustration. Security forces allegedly responded to their grievance by attacking and killing two of the demonstrators.
Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, responded by imposing a 24-hour curfew on Zangon-Kataf LGA, where the incident occurred.
Youths, who defied the curfew to find food on their farms, were reportedly arrested.
In July, the first reports of killings in Southern Kaduna started in Zangon-Kataf. CSW said 22 people were killed in three days – July 10 to 12, despite the 24-hour curfew.
Punch reported 52 deaths in seven days between July 19 and July 25. It started with the slaughtering of 21 persons at a wedding on July 19.
CSW, however, reckons that the death toll from a 24-hour attack between July 19 and 20 in southern Kaduna left 27 people dead. The Southern Kaduna Peoples Union say 63 persons were slain in the week of July 19 to 25.
Punch reported SAKAPU’s account in a July 26 report, where it detailed how nine persons were killed across three communities in Jema’a and Kaura LGAs.
If the killings in these two local governments were not part of SAKAPU’s estimate, the death toll for the whole week would be 72.
TheSun, however, reported that one of the persons from an attack last Friday died from injuries sustained on Sunday.
When these 73 deaths are tallied with the 22 earlier reported, the media reported fatality in July is 95.
Inter-Society believes 107 persons were already killed before the week of Sunday, July 20 to Saturday, July 26. The group said 32 persons were kidnapped by July 20 as well.