Kaduna State governor, Mallam Nasir Elrufai, said the persistent communal crises in the Christian-dominated southern part of the state were due to criminal activities which were garbled as ethnic and religious crises.
El-rufai stated this in a state-wide media chat on Thursday night in Kaduna.
According to the governor, insecurity in the state was being perpetrated by criminal elements who had been killing, kidnapping people and rustling cattle in the entire North-west region.
“Activities of the bandits were being coated as ethnic and religious when they occur in the southern part of the stat,” he said, adding that “this tends to exacerbate communal tensions and pitch people who have lived peacefully together against each other.”
He stated that the state government had taken steps to secure the southern part of the state, including ensuring that a military base and two mobile police squadrons were located there..
“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,’’ he stated.
According to him, “the bandits operate mostly in Katsina, Zamfara and Niger states” where he noted that their attacks were often seen and reported as criminal activities.
The governor said when bandits attacked in southern Kaduna, security reports showed that youth from the affected communities often responded by mobilising to attack Fulani communities in their area whose members shared the same ethnicity with the presumed bandits, even though many Fulani communities were also victims of the banditry in Kaduna State and elsewhere.
He said the problem was worsened by the response of Fulani communities who often resorted to self-help when they were attacked instead of reporting to the traditional authorities and security agencies.
“This is how the cycle of attacks, revenge and reprisals occur in southern Kaduna,’’ he said.
The governor, who expressed his sadness at the killings, said the community leaders needed to emphasise adherence to the rule of law in order to avoid the persistence of attacks and reprisals.
He explained that the state government imposed a 24-hour curfew in Zangon Kataf and Kauru local government areas on June 11 following the discovery in Zangon Kataf of the corpse of a man from Kauru who was resident in Zangon Kataf.
He said subsequently, some youth barricaded roads and burnt a vehicle with its occupants, adding that security agencies had to use force to disperse them from the highway.