In a harrowing turn of events, the women’s wing of the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU) has reported a distressing incident involving the kidnapping of 27 women and 4 boys by bandits in Southern Kaduna. This tragic incident is a stark reminder of the dire security situation that has plagued this region for years. As we delve into the details of this heart-wrenching event, we call upon the authorities to take swift and decisive action to rescue these innocent lives and bring the perpetrators to justice.
A Plea for Help
Mrs. Jemutu Katarma, the SOKAPU National Women Coordinator, issued a statement, shedding light on the grim situation in Southern Kaduna. She also extended her warm greetings to the Executive Governor of Kaduna State, Sen. Uba Sani, and his deputy, Dr. Sabuwa Hadiza Balarabe. The women of Southern Kaduna recognize the importance of the leadership’s role in addressing the security crisis that has gripped the region.
Unveiling the Crisis
Southern Kaduna, comprising 12 Local Government Areas, has borne the brunt of violence and crimes perpetuated by various armed groups, particularly bandits and armed herdsmen. Over the years, thousands of lives have been lost, homes have been reduced to ashes, and countless individuals have been displaced from their homes, with women and children bearing the heaviest burden.
Plight of the Villages
The scale of the crisis is staggering, with hundreds of villages being subjected to repeated invasions and takeovers by bandits. Tragically, even the previous state government seemed incapable of addressing these heinous acts effectively. Out of the 12 Local Government Areas in Southern Kaduna, Kachia, Kajuru, and Chikun have been particularly hard-hit, with women and children being the primary targets of kidnappers.
A Tragic Incident in Kachuwe
One incident that demands immediate attention is the horrifying event that unfolded in Kachuwe, close to Sarkin Pawa in Niger State on October 2, 2023. Residents of Chikun, fleeing from previous bandit invasions, sought refuge in Kachuwe, hoping to rebuild their lives by returning to farming. Unfortunately, armed bandits launched a brutal attack on the village, resulting in the tragic deaths of 13 adult males and a young girl.
Among the victims were Baba Barda Kariya and several others, including Ali Nariya, Zakariya Nariya, Markus Nariya, John Nariya, Haruna Nariya, Iko Ali, Vincent Ali, Amos Zakariya, Habila Zakariya, Smalis Markus, Timothy John, Victor Markus, and Godiya Markus—the sole female victim. These bandits, after committing these heinous acts, looted the village of its food and animals before setting it ablaze. They spared the lives of elderly women and sick old men but took several females and boys with them.
A Heartbreaking Ordeal
The story takes a further tragic turn as Kauna Ali, one of the kidnapped girls, fell gravely ill in the hands of her captors and eventually succumbed. The news of her death reached her family through a phone call from one of the kidnapped girls, but her whereabouts remain unknown to this day.
Yemi Benjamin, another victim, was pregnant when she was kidnapped, marking the beginning of a terrifying journey into motherhood in captivity. The bandits initially demanded a ransom for her release but later refused to accept it. A month later, Yemi Benjamin gave birth in the wilderness. The captors allowed her to make a call to inform her in-laws about the birth of her baby girl.
Enduring a Nightmare
It’s imperative to highlight that three and ten-year-old boys were among those kidnapped, and they remain in the clutches of their abductors. It’s been a full year since any news has been heard of them, and as of October 2, 2023, they’ve been held captive for two years. The anguish experienced by the families of these victims, living day and night without any knowledge of their loved ones’ fates, is a devastating ordeal.
More Tragedy Unfolds
Regrettably, the nightmare continues. On October 7, 2023, in Chikuri village, Chikun Local Government Area, bandits attacked Maikudi farms where villagers were diligently working. In this shocking incident, 14 women and a boy were abducted. One of the victims was Mrs. Lydia Dogara, a 54-year-old woman, and her 20-year-old daughter, Linda Dogara. This incident only underscores the urgent need for action to secure the lives of Kaduna citizens.
The Grim Tally
In summary, the situation is dire: at least 27 women and girls, along with 4 boys who are citizens of Kaduna state from Chikun Local Government Area, are currently held by kidnappers, with one victim already deceased. These individuals are but a fraction of the victims who may be suffering similar fates across the state.
A Plea for Urgent Action
In light of these heart-wrenching events, we implore the Kaduna State government, under the leadership of Sen. Uba Sani, to leverage its productive relationship with the Chief of Defense Staff, Gen. Christopher Musa, and other security chiefs. It is crucial that every possible measure is taken to secure the safe return of these women and children to their homes. At the very least, their families need information about their current status.
The citizens of Kaduna, especially the women and children who have endured unimaginable suffering, deserve swift and resolute action to put an end to this crisis. We must unite to ensure that the dark cloud of insecurity hanging over Southern Kaduna is lifted, and the region can flourish once more.