NIGERIA: Victims of Herdsmen Militia Attacks, The Internally Displaced and Our Common Humanity
Report: 19.03.2019 / NigeriaKillings in Southern Kaduna by Fr. Williams Kaura Abba, Catholic Priest, Diocese of Kafanchan
If the English saying, 'pictures are worth a thousand words' is true, I don't know what coming face to face with victims of terrorism and barbarism will be worth; may be a zillion words. No sane human being ever comes face to face with victims of human viciousness and wickedness and does not get moved to tears, no matter how heartless. I had to go back to Kajuru hospitals yesterday to move 2 little boys whose story I made earlier on Facebook.
Nigeria 2019 : The peaceful procession against the Kajuru Killings has taken pleace on Tuesday 19.03.2019 at the Unity Fountain in Abuja. Copyright Aid to the Church in Need.
A deeply kind human being, moved to sympathy and desire to assist the victims had sent me a message that read: "Father, the story of the little boy and his courage touched me. Please move him from that hospital in Kajuru to be the best hospital in Kaduna. I will pick his medical bills. He deserves to get the best medical attention". I had elsewhere also told the story of a 5 year old boy (the little boy I held in my arms). This little boy is the truest definition of "miracle". The rampaging herdsmen had fired bullets and took aim at him. The guns will refuse to cock. So bullets were useless at his sight. When the guns weren't doing it, they resorted to using machetes to cut him. Again, the machete was blurred and incapable of sharpness to pierce his skin. Frustrated by God at work in the life of this toddler, they resorted to using a big stick to hit at his spine and injured his spinal cord. As I write, this little boy cannot stand. His left hand is paralysed from his waist down, blood doesn't circulate. Effectively, he's paralysed. He will require the attention of a neurosurgeon and physiotherapist. Suffice to mention here that this boy lost two of his sisters in the attack and the mother is struggling for her life also at the St Gérard hospital Kaduna.
After the attacks by Herdsmen militia in Kajuru Local Government Area, Kaduna State, Nigeria in 2019
Photo: Fr. Williams Kaura Abba visiting victims at Kajuru Hospitals. Copyright Aid to the Church in Need.
I have never seen wickedness of this sort. This act was pure undiluted evil. This boy now has a new foster father. So since the mother was at St Gérard, I felt psychologically, being close to his mother will help mother and child in their recovery process. Now mother and son are in the same hospital, different wards and being looked after by the father and one other relation. The story of these two children stood out. But make no mistake about it, each of the victims I encountered, had a unique horrific story to narrate. They came face to face with death. God just sent an angel to deliver them and gave them grace to carry on. As I moved from one ward to the other, from one hospital to the other, from one IDP camp to the other, the reality of the catastrophe that awaits us dawned on me.
I am at a loss as to why a human being, endowed with the gift of rationality and emotions will do this to his kind. Animals without emotions and intellect don't even kill their kind. They kill other species of animals. So why should a human being, take pleasure in killing his fellow human being in the most bizarre manner possible? Most of the victims I encountered will have these scars permanent. We are not even talking about the trauma they will have to deal with for the rest of their lives. Each of the victims, from the few pictures attached, now has a different perspective about life. It will take the grace of God and our collective resolve to conscientiously work towards changing their perspectives. We have a duty not only to be pitiful, but to be empathetic and strive to be part of their healing process. Remember the biblical saying of Jesus "whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers and sisters, that you do unto me".
Diocese Kafanchan, Kaduna - Nigeria 2019
The peaceful procession against the Kajuru Killings has taken pleace on Tuesday 19.03.2019 at the Unity Fountain in Abuja. Copyright Aid to the Church in Need.
Let me leave the victims for now and for a moment talk about Nasir El Rufai, the governor of Kaduna State. The violence in our hands now and the humanitarian disaster who have is a direct consequence of his reckless and divisive statement. Recall that a few days to the presidential election, Nasir El Rufai went on National Television to say that security forces have recovered 66 bodies of Fulanis. Few days later, he reviewed the figures upwards, above 100. The police commissioner would later deny that and said that investigation into the actual figures was still at an embryonic stage. On TV, El Rufai inferred that there is likely going to be a reprisal.
The reprisal didn't come immediately until he was elected and announced winner of the just concluded gubernatorial elections that the violence broke out and community after community were attacked by rampaging Fulani herdsmen terrorists usually numbering over 500 and leaving in their trail, blood, death and sorrow. As it is said, "the witch cried at night and the baby died in morning". There are more than 130 deaths (conservatively). Four IDP camps and more than 10,000 persons displaced.
"THE GOVERNOR OR GOVERNMENT HAS NOT FOUND IT EXPEDIENT TO VISIT THE VICTIMS IN KAJURU OR EVEN THE HOSPITAL IN KADUNA"
to commiserate with those who have lost loved ones and reassure the injured that help will come their way. So neither the governor, SEMA or NEMA officials have found their way to the hospitals or different camps. Relations, faith based communities and good spirited individuals are completely responsible for their medication and sustenance. Yet, we have a governor who swore not only to protect us but also promised to be fair and just to all. This is the kind of governor we have who has just bulldozed his way back to power and whom the electorates in Kaduna will have to contend with for the next four years.
In all of these sad stories, we must provoke afresh and put on the front burner, the existential threat posed by these neighbours of ours who have allowed themselves to be used as angels of death. For how long will we have to deal with the question of the Fulani herdsmen terrorism? Unfortunately, the government is playing the ostrich. Pretending that all is well.
Just a line to the communities in Kajuru and parts of Chikun. They have done marvelously well. The Ubuntu philosophy and communitarianism is fully operational in these communities. Families have taken it upon themselves to cook for their visitors who are living in camps. Those who can afford, have taken in visitors they never knew from Adam. They have open their barns and hearts to their brothers and sisters in grave need. Churches and CDA's are outstanding. This is one moment I felt prouder that I belong here. They are the real heroes and heroines.
May God heal the wounded and restore Peace in the land.