The Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU) has again called on the military authority to investigate the alleged involvement of soldiers in the recent attacks and killings by terrorists in Southern Kaduna communities.
In a statement made available to NOHR on Friday by SOKAPU and signed by Luka Binniyat, the Spokesman of the organisation said they were aware of “very disturbing allegations against the personnel of the Nigerian Army in the massacre.”
The statement titled “ Mallagun Massacre: Nigeria Army Must Probe Alleged Complicity of Personnel”, read:
“Yesterday, the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU) attended the solemn and sad burial prayer for the 13th and 18th December 2022, 39 slain villagers of Mallagun and surrounding villages in Kaura Local Government Area (LGA) of Kaduna state and heard very disturbing allegations against the personnel of the Nigerian Army in the massacre.
The affected villages that are closely knit with Mallagun are: Unguwan Mission, Uza-oetsivon, Stok owai and Matstukum. Others are: Sakong, Manyi oegbung and Dussai. The SOKAPU team which was led by its 1st Vice President, Comrade Elisha Rosi to Government Secondary School, Mallagun, venue of the burial service, was appaled by the total absence of any representation by Kaduna State government. No message of any sort was sent. No relief material has been sent to the displaced.
In his condolence message, comrade Rosi told the crowd how SOKAPU has been shouting hoax against the genocide in Southern Kaduna with both the state and Federal government not making enough efforts to stop the killings. He said that he had visited each of the affected community and was horrified by the carnage. He called for vigilance all the time and prayed for God’s healing of the land.
The number of coffins however brought to the prayer ground were 23. The reason was that some of the corpses had gone too bad and had to be buried in a hurry. Also, some families buried their slain relations privately. Among those killed was a centeranian, Monica Kunal Ajuwai, who was 105 years old. She was killed in Sakong village. Six families were wiped out.
102 houses were totally burnt. Homes were looted of grains and valuables before they were burnt down by the assaliants identified by survivors as armed Fulani herdsmen in complicit with persons they alleged to be men of the Nigeria Army. After the burial service, scores of youths from the affected villages, including members of christian clergy from the affected communities rushed to meet us with stories of how the army may have been used in the killings.
The Nigeria Army runs Operation Safe Heaven in Southern Kaduna under the Command of Maj. General Ibrahim Ali. General Ali is also the GOC 3 Army Division, Jos – curious positions to be occupied by one man. The villagers alleged that four Hilux vans painted in Army colour were patrolling Mallagun village, around 9pm on that night, giving the residents of the farming community some sense of security.
They went on to say that around 10 pm, the vehicles disappeared. Soon an armoured tank came into the village around 10:45 pm. According to their accounts, the attacks on the villages started at the same time the armoured tank rang out its first shot. “A gun mounted truck” may be mistaken for an amoured tank, but they all said that it was an armoured tank. The attacks were well planned and coordinated to take place at once.
For hours, there were screaming and calls for help, but no one showed up. Smoke engulfed the night sky as hapless villagers scamper in terror into the bushes . Help came after three hours with the arrival of armed police. The survivors were very mad at the army saying they have explanations to give on their role.
They said that it was long after the police dispelled the attackers and it was already a clear bright morning that soldiers arrived in trucks and started mounting road blocks. They showed us long, army coloured painted empty shells of high caliber bullets whose sizes were surely larger in size than that of AK 49. They insisted that the shells came from the amoured tank. The shells had the telltale sign of a higher amoury than that of hand held guns.
It is actually very curious that Mallagun and affected villages bank the major Samaru-Kafanchan Highway could be attacked from 11pm to 1am without the arrival of any help, with all the military checkpoints that are few kilometers from Mallagun. The farthest village among the destroyed communities is less than 700m from the highway. Why did it take that long for the military to respond, if the account of the communities are right?
The police force was singled out for praise at the prayer ground, without whose intervention the massacre would have been worse. While SOKAPU acknowledges the gallant and sacrificial roles that men and officers have played in defending the country from both external and internal enemies, we nonetheless believe that there could be rogue elements of the army that could be used to collude with outlaws.
We are calling on the Nigerian Army to carry out an in-depth probe into the Mallagun killings. We also called on the international community and relevant NGOs to assist us in carrying out a thorough investigation of these allegations. It could be recalled Madamai village, which is about 2km from Mallagun, was attacked on 27th September 2021 and 38 citizens killed”
Signed: Luka Binniyat