In Benue State, the chairman of the Association of Local Government in Nigeria, Mike Uba, has confirmed that six more communities have been victims of attacks by herdsmen. The latest communities attacked by Fulani’s are Kwande, Agatu, GwerWest, Guma, Makurdi and Logo Local Government Areas. while speaking to journalists in Makurdi, Mr. Uba says the attacks were carried out over the last two weeks (adding to those already reported on by this update last week), escalating more since the recent presidential and National Assembly elections. “This is the first time in the history of herders and terrorist attacks in the state that six local governments would be under attacks simultaneously. These are Huma, Makurdi, Gwer-West, Kwande, Agatu and some forays in Logo. In the past, attacks would be in two or three; Guma, Gwer-West and Agatu. The new dimension speaks volumes of command room coordination and strategy. This is a strategic attempt timed to coincide with the electoral season.” he has appealed to both the outgoing and incoming presidents to ensure that there is heightened protection of lives and property in the state. https://punchng.com/herders-attack-six-benue-communities/



At least 36 people have been killed in Kaduna and Katsina states over the last few days. Gunmen attacked and killed 17 peoples in Zangon Kataf Local Government Area, Kaduna state. The attacks in Kaduna were also perpetrated on Saturday evening, in an area where for the last few years, there has been escalating violence and killings due to the conflicts between residents and herders. A resident of the area says “the gunmen in their large numbers came at about 7:00pm yesterday. As I am talking to you, we have so far recovered 17 corpses”. In response to this, the LGA imposed a 24 hour curfew, in an effort to arrest the mayhem. The media aide to the LGA chairperson, a Mr. Yabo Ephraim, emphasised that the curfew is meant to enable to restore peace an order in the affected areas. “A 24-hour curfew has been imposed on Ungwan Juju, Mabuhu, Ungwan Wakili and Zangon Urban with immediate effect. this is to allow men of the Nigerian army to restore peace on that axis.” confirming the attack, the spokesman of Kaduna State Police Command, Muhammad Jalige said “From the briefing I received from the Area Commander, trouble started a couple of days ago, when a boy rearing cattle was murdered, we have been trying to manage the situation while investigating the sad occurrence before trouble broke out. A joint security team will be combing the bushes in the area Sunday afternoon to search for bodies if there are any, they will also apprehend the suspects responsible for the killings. We are on top of the situation and all the hoodlums responsible would be rounded up. But for the timely intervention of joint security personnel coordinated by the Area Commander, the terrorists would have had a field day. Repelling the hoodlums was a tedious task for our security agencies, but they were successful as the terrorists scampered away from the scene.” the area is the home town of Labour Party gubernatorial candidate, who made a call for calm, and expressed his shock over the latest attacks. his media maid has urged state government and security agencies to ensure perpetrators of violence are quickly brought to book and thus serve as a deterrent to other criminal elements who at the moment, do not fear reprisals.

Another 19 were killed and 15 injured in violence this past Saturday in Kankara, Katsina state. Hoodlums were attending a wedding party of a well-known local kingpin, Mai Katifa Mutuwa, when a bloody clash occurred between the hoodlums and local vigilantes. A source says “between 3 and 4pm yesterday, we learnt that some vigilante members clashed with some of the bandits who came to Majifa village to attend the wedding ceremony of one of their leaders, known as ‘Katifa Mutuwa’. the clash eventually led to the invasion of nearby villages in the area by the hoodlums shooting sporadically.” the violence claimed the lives of five in Gurbi, and another 13 in Majifa, Makera and Gidan Jifau localities. The same source says the terrorists invaded another 10 settlements in the area, including Gurbi, Danmarke, Majifa, Gidan Baso, Gidan Sarka, Gidan Ancho, Gidan Sanka, Dan Mangoro and Gidan Sale, among others. By late Saturday night, after the violence, 18 bodies were recovered, while another 15 people who sustained various degrees of injuries were taken to the Kankara General Hospital for treatment. : Right now, we can’t confirm the exact number of people killed because the search is still ongoing to discover if there are more victims. Feat couldn’t let us search through the night but hopefully, we should be able to ascertain the exact number of casualties this morning as the search for the casualties has already resumed.” the spokesperson of Katsina state Police, Gambo Isah, confirmed the clash, saying, “Yes, there was an attack at Majifa. We learnt some group of bandits from Zamfara, came for a celebration and later attacked Majifa village. We also learnt there were some cattle killed.” https://www.vanguardngr.com/2023/03/gunmenkill-36-in-kaduna-kastina-2/ https://guardian.ng/news/terrorists-kill-police-16-civilians-inzangon-kataf/


In Benue state violence has continued since the elections. In a recent attack, at least 20 people were left dead after more than 40 attackers descended on the village of Tse Jor, culling defenseless men, women and children. Helen Tikyaa, and aid worker for the Catholic Diocese of Makurdi, says she drove to the village when she heard of the attack, but did not enter until the killers had left. Since the attacks, women and children are still streaming into the surrounding IDP camps in Naka, adding to the increasing amounts of people who have been displaced across the state, currently estimated to be more than one million. Mr. Paul Hemba, the security adviser for the Benue governor, says it is likely that the killers avoided using rifles so not as to alert the military, which is stationed less than seven miles away from the village. “The terrorists planned this attack knowing they would get little resistance. This attack in a remote rural area was a surprise to everyone. The attackers knew that the military would need at least one hour to get to the attack site due to the crude roads and because few of the villagers even had cellphones, and those who did wouldn’t necessarily know who to call in case of emergency.” Fr Remigius Ihyula, a priest stationed in Makurdi, says the local population was caught off guard by the attacks. “It was the first time the community saw such violence since the killings started in 2001, and the attackers came without warning. The motive could be nothing short of terrorism and the desire to inflict pain and disperse populations to occupy the deserted areas.” Fr William Shom, stationed in Yelewata, Guma County, says and attack by Fulani terrorists who came in large numbers to Yelewata killed seven. The terrorists also burned 27 houses. “This is what my parishioners are passing through. We cannot sleep with our eyes closed. we are calling on the international community to come to our aid.” in a report by the Foundation for Justice Development and Peace, it was stated that in the town of Naka, which only has a resident population of 3000, the IDP camp now has over 5000 residents, eclipsing the local population, and increasing tensions amongst all. “With the attack on Tse Jor, there are now eight villages near Naka that have been depopulated and taken over by Muslim tribes, whose militia make up the killing parties. Many of the children show signs of malnutrition. The state government makes ration deliveries only once a month, and when food runs out, the people in the camps try to earn money by doing jobs or begging in the streets of Naka,” says Tikyaa. Fr Remigius adds, “The UNHCR, Red Cross, MSF are very active in giving support of various kinds. The UNHCR particularly has been of tremendous help, offering temporary shelters and protection related support to the victims. While the Benue state government has tried its best under the circumstances, the federal government has neglected the sufferings of the people. From the point of view of the Foundation for Justice and Peace and the Catholic Diocese of Makurdi, our challenge to effective intervention strategies has mainly been the constant attacks and displacement in multiple areas. It has been overwhelming dealing with this situation.” Hyacinth Iormem Alia, a local priest currently suspended from practicing sacraments, due to his standing as the APC candidate for governor, has condemned the attacks. He was suspended by the local ordinary for Gboko diocese in May 2022, as Canon law does not allow priests to be involved in partisan politics. a local priest, speaking under conditions of anonymity, had this to say: “My reading of the APC win in Benue is that the people have been deceived to believe that the APC will retain power, and it would be foolhardy to be in the opposition given the benefits of belonging to the ruling party.” https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/253873/waves-of-attacks-displace-catholicnatives-in-central-nigeria


It is clear in reading this week’s update that since the elections held on 25 February, violence has escalated across the various hotspots and pressure points in the country. the violence and intimidation which many communities had been subjected to has not only intensified, but now, with the gap in leadership until Tinubu is sworn in as president, vigilantes, herdsman and hoodlums feel embolden to attack innocents. The attack in Katsina seems to have been a perfect smokescreen for wanton violence- how does a clash at a wedding turn into a rampage into surrounding villages and killings and displacements randomly? It does not seem to be random. The continuing displacement of people in Makurdi Diocese, Benue state, causing the explosion in the IDP population, will inevitably cause another layer of tension: while fighting off attacks by herdsmen, the IDPs and local population will soon also find themselves at odds over the allocation of resources. As always, we see the official state response as slow; the security personnel is slow to respond, and seemingly unable to bring to book the perpetrators of these acts of violence.


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