Alleged armed herdsmen between Saturday and Sunday killed not less than 20 persons after they lay a surprise siege on Godogodo, a semi-urban settlement, in Jema’a Local Government Area, LGA, of Kaduna State up to the time of going to press.The police and escapees said Godogodo was razed with a tentative casualty figure of 20, apart from the injured.
The gory incident was said to have heightened tension between the majority Christian population of Kafanchan, about 12 km, north of Godogodo, and its minority settler population of Hausa/Fulani Muslims.
The Interim Management Committee, IMC, Chairman, of Jema’a LGA, Dr. Humble Katuka, acting on mitigating measures, on Sunday declared a 24-hour curfew on the LGA.
Kafanchan is the Headquarters of Jema’a LGA, about 250 km South of Kaduna metropolis and also the commercial and socio-political hub of Southern Kaduna.
The Fulani population size of Southern Kaduna is said to be less about 2%.
Godogodo, headquarters of Godogodo Chiefdom, of which alleged herdsmen have killed scores from its adjoining villages forcing the eviction of nine communities since July this year, was the major place where the displaced had taken refuge.
But, according to local community leaders and eeyewitness said, Godogodo had been under invasion by the armed men for two days with a substantial part of the town was razed; women and children killed in the inferno. Some who tried to escape where shot or cut down with machete, various accounts affirmed.
The Kaduna State Police Spokesman, ASP Aliyu Usman affirmed the violence, saying at least two policemen had been killed in an earlier raid near Gogogodo last Friday; and that a police formation was attacked in Godogodo before the invaders faced the town last Saturday evening. He said that Kaduna State Police Commissioner had deployed more units of Mobile and conventional policemen to the place for more re-enforcement.
Meanwhile, the Chairman, Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders’ Association, Kaduna State Chapter, Dr. Haruna Usman, in response to Vanguard inquiries on the alleged role of his members in the violence, brusquely replied via a text message to our Kaduna Correspondent: “I don’t know anything about that yet.”
According to a local community leader in Godogodo: “Last month, some Fulani youths who were well armed, tried to enter Godogodo to killed people who escaped from Ninte, Golgofa, Akwa and Gada surrounding villages from their various attacks on them since July. But our vigilante boys and soldiers chased them out and arrested 5 of them. But they killed four of our boys. People ran away from Godogodo to Gidan Waya (the next semi-urban town about 4km away). But with the stationing of permanent police presence after that incident, people returned here almost full again.
“The Fulani have taken over these villages, and are saying they are parts of the grazing reserves allocated to them by Kaduna state government.
“Then last Saturday, around 6pm, we heard gunshots from around Anguwan Ninzon area. As people were running, women and children screaming. I saw many Fulani men carrying heavy guns and just shooting at people. Some houses were set on fire with people inside. If I tell you how I managed to escaped, I will say I’m lying. I just followed some old men and we ran through a bush path with shootings going on all over the town. Some were shot, but many of us escaped.
“My family had left Godogodo since September. I just came back alone to harvest my crops and leave. Then I met this evil. Today, we retrieved about 20 corpse from around the fringe the town. But corpses burnt inside homes cannot be reached now, because the Fulani are still inside the town. At some interval you will hear them shooting to let everyone know that they are still around. The town is still burning and people are still trapped their or burnt,” he said.
Kaduna State Police Spokesman, ASP Aliyu Usman told (Vanguard) Correspondent that: “I can confirm to you that yes, there has been an invasion of Godogodo by some hoodlums. It is true that they have burnt down some parts of the town, but for now I have not been told the exact figure of casualties, but people were killed. In fact the gunmen first attacked our men stationed there. Our men got some help from another unit of police and they beat the attackers into a temporary retreat. A police sergeant was wounded and is taking medical attention in Kafanchan. As I speak, Kaduna State Police Commissioner has ordered deployment of more units of Mobile Policemen and Conventional Police to the town. They should have arrived by now. Last Friday, same armed men ambushed our men around Godogodo, killed two officers and fled. We shall surely get them soon,” he said.
In Kafanchan, sources told our correspondent in Kaduna of women and children left for death after their hands and limbs were chopped off or left with severe injuries. The presence of such victims receiving treatments in hospitals in the Railway Junction town was said to be the reason for the high tension in the town.
By noon yesterday, protesting youths in some parts of Kafanchan had fanned to the major road blocking traffic and chanting anti-government slogans, but the situation was brought under control mainly through intervention of elders, sources told Vanguard.
The IMC Chairman, Dr. Humble Katuka then placed a 24-hours curfew over Jema’a LGA by around 3pm yesterday, citing the need to maintain public order, law and security.