Dozens dead, hundreds displaced in central Nigeria attacks

At least 35 people were killed, and hundreds left homeless following seven separate attacks on communities in central Nigeria’s southern Kaduna State between the end of February and mid-April 2021.

According to CSI’s local partner, the Justice, Development and Peace Commission of the Catholic Diocese of Kafanchan (JDPC Kafanchan), the attackers set houses on fire, and destroyed or looted properties. The attacks on mainly Christian villages have been attributed to Islamist Fulani herdsmen.

In one community alone, Kizachi Dawai, 12 people died and were laid to rest in a mass grave.

In the latest attack, on Wawan Rafi, where four people were killed, two churches were burnt to the ground, indicating a religious motive.

Through its partner on the ground, CSI is providing food and medical aid to victims in Southern Kaduna, including 1,000 people displaced by Fulani attacks at the end of last year.

Living in fear

Farmer Hannatu Christopher, 45, and her family had a narrow escape after their village, Kurmin Gandu, was overrun on the evening of February 28.

“The four of us including my husband and two children were in the house when suddenly we heard gun shots”, she told CSI’s partner. The family managed to escape into the bush.  ”None of us in the family was hurt but the entire house was burnt down. We lost foodstuffs, beddings, a motorcycle, some money, and many other valuables. All the crops we harvested were destroyed”.

“Three days before the attack, the Fulani community living with us left the village and they are yet to return, maybe for fear of revenge”, Hannatu continued, “but we have no thoughts of revenge – we leave everything to God”.

“We were living happily together before but now we are living in fear and looking to others for survival as we don’t have food and shelter”.

Livinus Yohanna, 47, of Kizachi Dawai, lost his wife and two of his children when the herdsmen invaded his village on March 18. His home and vehicle were burned to ashes. “Today, I have become a beggar since I have to rely on others for food and clothes”, he lamented.

“Years back we co-existed peacefully with the Fulani people as friends and neighbors but today they treat us as enemies even though they are living with us in our ancestral land. They have taught their children to see us as enemies.

“We no longer feel safe in our ancestral land. We are praying to God that he will one day bring this violence to an end”.

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