One of the survivors of last Wednesday’s attacks in some Southern Kaduna communities, Mr. Cleophas Yohana, in this exclusive interview, gives chilling details of the incidents. Yohana, a councillor in Zangon Kataf Local Government Area of Kaduna State, says attackers mutilated the body of casualties and threatened to return. He also accuses security agents of providing cover for perpetrators despite the curfew imposed by the state government.
What happened last Wednesday in your locality?
In my place, Kurmin Masara, we lost 15 people. Kurmin Masara is divided into three and we are in the old Kurmin Masara. We have Atak’Mawei, Takwa Isah and Kurmin Masara. These are the areas we lost people. We lost three in Kurmin Masara.
We lost 12 people in Takwa Isah and Atak’Mawei. That brings the number to 15. Before the attacks, there was a rumour that they were coming to attack us, using four groups. We were imagining how that could be possible, only to hear gunshots a few minutes past midnight.
We wondered what could be responsible for the gunshots. We called different communities to know whether the attackers were the ones shooting, but they said no. Shortly after that, we started hearing more gunshots. It was strong and loud because they were using high calibre weapons.
When we heard that, we knew they were attacking a neighbouring community, Apyia’Shyim, in Kibori. While going to render help, some of us were close to the area but learnt that they were already attacking our place. We had to return home to help the situation.
What did you see upon returning home?
When we got home, we saw that everywhere was burning. They set many houses ablaze. More than half of the houses in our place were burnt down. They burnt some people with their children inside their rooms.
Some, after shooting them, they cut them with machetes. They removed the eyes of some victims and went away with them. Elsewhere, they killed seven people. A victim’s corpse was discovered yesterday. We had thought the number was six. After killing him, they removed several parts from his body and went away with them for ritual purposes.
When they had succeeded in killing people and destroying houses, security agents came, distracted the attention of the people and brought three vehicles from Zango, where soldiers are camping and moved them out of the environment. In trying to escape, some of them who could not enter the cars left through a community, Magamia where they shot two people dead. These people were not even included in the number.
Therefore, if we add this number, we may have up to 24. When the security agents arrived at Kurmin Masara, the attackers were hailing them. Instead of shooting them, they escorted them until they exited from Kurmin Masara. The security vehicle was giving them cover until they found an exit. The attackers came with cars that they used in carting away choice property. Before any house was burnt, they went in and selected the type of property they wanted.
Up until now, we have not heard anything from the government, especially the Kaduna State government. They have neither condemned the attack nor sympathised with the people in the area. Government is doing nothing to help the situation. The happenings show that they are behind these people, who they said are on revenge missions. As a councillor, representing Zamando Ward, I am saddened by the situation. Wounded people are lying in hospitals without money to pay for hospital bills. Nobody is coming to their aid.