Nasir el-l-Rufai, governor of Kaduna, says the incessant killings in the southern part of the state are usually given ethnic and religious colourations.
In a statement issued on Friday by Muyiwa Adekeye, the governor’s spokesman, el-Rufai said while such attacks are referred to as crime in other northern states, the attacks and reprisals are described differently in southern Kaduna, as they are given ethnic and religious undertones.
According to the governor, seven people were killed on Thursday night in a fresh attack on Agwala Doka, Kajuru, by gunmen.
He added that no fewer than 43 people have been killed in the last four days in communities in Kaura, Zangon-Kataf, Kauru and Kajuru local government areas of the state.
The governor maintained that his administration has taken major steps to secure the area, including ensuring that a military base was opened in southern Kaduna along with two mobile police squadrons.
“Insecurity in Kaduna state is being perpetrated by criminal elements who have been killing, kidnapping people and rustling cattle the entire North West,” he said.
“The criminality of the bandits gets coated with ethnic and religious hues when it affects communities in the southern parts of the state, where it tends to exacerbate communal tensions and pitch people who have lived peacefully together against each other.
“In addition to security presence, peace requires that everyone should obey the rule of law and avoid self-help because ultimately, peace depends on the willingness of people to live in harmony and to settle their difference peacefully.
“Attacks by bandits are not localised to a single part of the state. These criminals attack people irrespective of their religion or ethnicity and they have been perpetrating their reign of terror in Giwa, Birnin Gwari and parts of Igabi local government.
“These bandits operate mostly in Katsina, Zamfara and Niger states and their attacks in those states are seen and reported as criminal activity, but these same attacks are perceived differently when they occur in southern Kaduna and are invested with ethnoreligious colourations.
“When bandits attack in southern Kaduna, security reports show that youths from the affected communities have often responded by mobilising to attack Fulani communities in their area whose members share the same ethnicity with the presumed bandits, even though many Fulani communities are also themselves victims of the bandits, in Kaduna State and elsewhere.
“This is how the cycle of attacks, revenge and reprisals occurs in southern Kaduna.”
The governor emphasised the need for community leaders to ensure adherence to the rule of law in order to avoid repeated attacks and reprisals.