The number of deaths from five villages attacked by alleged armed herdsmen in Kauru Local Government Area, LGA, of Kaduna state last Sunday has risen to 45, from 31 according to findings by newsmen.But, Kaduna State Police Spokesman, ASP Aliyu Usman, told our reporter that the police would make official the casualty figure, but was yet to do so at the time of filing this report.
Meanwhile, a disagreement between a farmer and a Fulani man over a farmland the Fulani man had asked for to settle with his cattle was said to have triggered the violence.
The violence came just hours after an elaborate ceremony by Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna, in Samaru Kataf, less than an hour drive from latest affected villages, celebrating what he called an“enduring peace” deal in Southern Kaduna.
The villages that came under the latest onslaught of the herdsmen are: Kigam, Kitakum, Unguwan Magaji , Unguwan Rimi and Kizipi, all in Chawai Chiefdom, in Kauru LGA, about 300km east of Kaduna metropolis.
Village elders who spoke to Vanguard on condition of anymimity said that they had buries 43 bodies mainly women and kids around 3pm yesterday, but that two corpse were recovered yesterday afternoon in a remote hilly village, called Kizipi, and that the burial would take place today.
One of the elders speaking in a shaky voice said: “Last September, a Fulani man called Haruna approached a famer here in Unguwan Magaji and asked that he wanted to settle with his cattle on portion of farmland the farmer had cleared. The farmer said, he could not give out the farm because he had cleared it preparatory for farming yam by October. Nonetheless, Haruna moved in with his cattle and built straw huts on the farm where he slept. When the case was taken to the police station in Kamuru Ikulu and Haruna was invited, he came and went violent, beating up people with his herdsmen stick. The police detained him and later released him,” the elder said.
According to him, later in the evening, Haruna went back to his hut.
He continued: “We later heard gunshot sounds coming from the hut of Haruna. The youths went there and discovered it was only Haruna who was firing in the air. They overpowered him chased him and his cattle away then set on fire the hut he had built without permission.
“A week later, some people who had gone to a market were returning, got waylaid by Fulani and two were killed. They are from Kigam and Unguwan Magaji.
“So, last Sunday, around 3pm, they invaded our villages. They burnt 65 houses, and all our food stuff. We have buried 43 today and we will bury two tomorrow,” he said.
Meanwhile, at the time of going to Press, Kaduna State government was yet to make visit or make a statement on the violence.
However, Rep member representing Kauru/Lere Federal Constituency, Hon Simon Arabo was the first government official to visit the place.
Arabo, according to village source, with pictures to support, was the one who arrived the villages with the first batch of policemen and a truck of soldiers on Monday morning.
“It was after his arrival that we were able to search the whole bushes to recover some corpse. Before then the Fulani, scores in numbers, were still moving around the villages, destroying houses and looting and killing animals.
“He came with five truck of policemen. He also gave us some cash to purcahe what we can use to feed for the meantime.
“We are yet to see the Governor or his Deputy or even our acting LGA chairman. But, we heard that they will be coming later today.” He said.