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The Middle Belt Forum on Sunday condemned the mass killings in Southern Kaduna, describing the region as a dark axis of death.
While warning the military against taking sides with the killers suspected to be Fulani herdsmen, the organisation said it would continue to work with Afenifere, Ohanaeze, South-South Leaders Forum and other socio-cultural organisations in Southern Nigeria to bring about the required restructuring of the country.
MBF National President, Pogu Bitrus, explained this in a statement in Abuja condemning the comment of the Presidency on the Southern Kaduna killings.
President’s spokesperson, Garba Shehu, had in a statement claimed that the killings in Southern Kaduna were politically-motivated and orchestrated by criminal gangs.
“From available security records, the problem in Southern Kaduna is an evil combination of politically-motivated killings and mutual violence by criminal gangs acting on ethnic and religious grounds,” Shehu said.
But the MBF said it was rather unfortunate and tragic that those who should stop the horrifying carnage would attempt to turn the truth on its head.
Bitrus said, “For the Presidency to issue such a statement when hundreds of people have been asininely slaughtered and thousands sacked from their homes and now in Internally Displaced Person camps shows that it is either ignorant of the reality on the ground or have chosen to toe the path of falsehood.
“The recent killings of no fewer than 12 persons in Kafanchan on Friday’s night and last weekend’s gruesome murder of 38 people in Southern Kaduna within a span of four days is a pointer that the area is becoming the nation’s dark axis of death that has attracted national and global outrage.
“The ongoing bloodshed in Southern Kaduna has been characterised with the decimation of both the populace and communities strictly for conquest and occupation.
“From Chikun to Birnin Gwari, from Kachia to Sanga, the bloody signature of massive killings is there for all to see. Many communities in Southern Kaduna have been sacked and several hundreds of innocent citizens killed, with increasing spates of attacks threatening the security of the area.
“The criminalisation of self-defence by the government has turned Southern Kaduna people into easy targets for terrorist herdsmen to gruesomely murder and destroy many communities.”
The MBF drew the attention of the Federal Government that the corporate unity of the nation was being threatened by “the premeditated attacks, as no country can survive these unprovoked assaults for long.”
Bitrus added, “The MBF calls on members of the state and the federal lawmaker representing these areas under siege to stand up for their people. Without walking together for the common cause, the dawn for a new day will take a long while to come.
“We call on the military to ensure they do not take sides with invading terrorist herdsmen forces that are leaving trails of blood and gloom as they engage in deadly attacks on Southern Kaduna and other Middle Belt communities.
“For peace to return to these attacked areas, the cooperation of the members of the public and impartiality of the military are critical in defeating these forces of evil that have wreaked devastating havoc on our people.”