A three-year-old Nigerian girl has been killed after a group of Islamic Fulani militants launched a brutal attack on a village in Kaduna state. The assault, which took place on 3rd June, resulted in the youngster, Elizabeth Samaila, suffering multiple machete cuts to the head. She died in hospital the next day.
Nine others were hacked to death and buried in a mass grave following the attack; those killed were named as Richard Yusuf, Kefas Yusuf, Fidelis Wada, Kachia, Genesis Soja and Rahab Soja. A number of others were injured in the brutal attack - which was launched on a Christian community in Tudun Agwalla - including an 8-year-old girl who suffered a severe head injury. Many other victims of the attack are thought to be unaccounted for at this time.
This year, Fulani militants have been ramping up their offensives against the Christian population across Kaduna state in particular. In a press statement issued on 22nd May, the National President of the Adara Development Association, Awemi Dio Maisamari, noted that between "1 January and 22 May 2020, there have been 63 attack and kidnapping incidents, in which 107 people were killed, around 49 injured, and over 66 men, women and girls abducted for ransom. In addition, over 111 houses were burnt, 32 entire villages destroyed and 20,000 persons displaced."
Christian Solidarity Worldwide's chief executive Mervyn Thomas said: "We extend our deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of Elizabeth Samaila, and to all those affected by the attack on Tudun Agwalla. The painful death suffered by this three year-old highlights the full extent of the depravity of those who killed her.
"What is particularly unacceptable is that her death is the latest to occur in a series of attacks which continue unabated. Southern Kaduna is steadily being transformed into killing fields, either due to a gross failure of governance, or official indifference and acquiescence. International pressure must now be brought to bear on both the state and federal authorities to ensure protection for these vulnerable communities, and that effective action is taken to disarm all armed non-state actors, and bring the perpetrators of these horrific atrocities to justice."
Dr Leena Hoffman, an associate fellow of Africa Programme at the UK international affairs think tank Chatham House, remarked at a recent roundtable titled "Southern Kaduna Massacres in International Relations" that the Kaduna attacks were "a microcosm of Nigeria's present geography of conflict."
She added: "Given the intense insecurity in Southern Kaduna, preventative measures are urgently needed. Affected communities in #SouthernKaduna must be made to feel like their lives and the monumental impact of this crisis matters. Grievances and mistrust have deepened and hardened over the years. Dismissing such feelings fuels frustration towards the Kaduna state and federal governments... Ending impunity also means reducing the chances of aggrieved communities taking matters into their own hands."