The alleged killing of two cows through poisoning in Mafan village, Fadan Atakar Chiefdom of Kaura Local Government Area of Kaduna State, set off an orgy that led to the killing of 19 people, and the destruction of four villages between last Saturday and Sunday, according to the Chairman of Kaura Local Government Area, Mr. Kumai Badun.
Also, 10 people were critically injured in the violence. They were taken to Jankwano ECWA Church Hospital, Jos and Kaura General Hospital for treatment, Badu added.
According to him, no fewer than 5000 people from the four affected communities have become refugees and are camped in two places, Fadan Atakar, and Zangan.
The Public Relations Officer of Kaduna State Emergency Management Agency, SEMA, Mallam Abubakar Adamu, confirmed the development, saying as at Friday, the number of refugees at the two camps was 500, but the number was bound to rise.
The Kaduna State Police spokesman, Deputy Superintendent of Police, DSP, Aminu Lawan, corroborated the story, but said he had not been briefed on the casualty figure by the Area Commander in charge of the affected area.
Speaking to Vanguard from one of the camps at Model Primary School, Fadan Atakar, Badu said it was the first time Atakar ever came under Fulani attack.
Narrating what led to the violence, Badu said: “There was a young man, Aboi Stephen (21), in Mafan who had been complaining that some cattle have been grazing in his dry season farm. I was told that the cattle destroyed a good portion of the farm, and that there was no end in sight to the destruction. Only the Fulanis own cattle there.
“About two weeks ago, two Fulani cows were found dead, apparently of poison. The owner of the cows was said to have publicly warned Aboi of the grave consequences of his action. I don’t know if it was Aboi that poisoned the cows, or even if they died of poisoning.
“Then one day, Aboi was found missing. After a search by the villages they found his corpse which had deep machete cuts and his throat was slit open.
“Upon that discovery, women and children mobilised to the palace of the chief of Atakar, Chief Tobias Nkom-Wada accusing him of inviting the Fulani into Atakar land in the first place. They vandalised the palace and the chief is now living in his personal house in Tachire.
“On seeing what the women and children did, the Fulanis started moving out en mass to their kin in Kanawuri areas of Plateau State, which also has some Atakar speaking villages.
“On their way, they shot a young man that same day in Kanawuri area. That pitched them against the Atakar in Plateau State and they fought for days. The fighting led to the burning of some Atakar villages.
They affected ones had to move to this Local Government, where we open the first refugee camp for them at Mifi. But, we have merged it with the other two, because it was too vulnerable.
When the Army moved in last week, the Fulanis left Kanawuri in Plateau, state back to this place with their arms.
“Last Saturday, by 3pm. They attacked Mafan, Zalang, Taliki and Zangkan villages up those hills, while able bodied men had gone to the farms or the market. They went on unchallenged from 3pm on Saturday, till Sunday morning.
“When the Army arrived the scene on Sunday morning the Officer in charge told me that they counted 19 bodies. All the Houses in the villages have been burnt.