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NIGERIA: 49 killed and 27 abducted in southern Kaduna attacks

49 killed and 27 abducted in southern Kaduna attacks

CSW (28.09.2021) – https://bit.ly/3oyM7vC – At least 49 people have been killed and 27 were abducted in attacks by armed assailants of Fulani ethnicity on communities in three Local Government Areas (LGAs) of Kaduna state, central Nigeria, that occurred on 26 and 27 September.

Eight people were killed, six were injured and several houses were burnt in an attack on Kacecere village in Zangon Kataf LGA, southern Kaduna, on 27 September.

One person died, an unknown number were injured and 27 were abducted following an attack on the Gabachuwa community in Kachia LGA, southern Kaduna, on 26 September. The victim was killed while on his way to visit the Gabachuwa community, when he encountered the assailants as they led their captives away. According to CSW’s sources, the victim and most of the abductees are members of the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA).

Also on 26 September, militia men attacked the Madamai and Abun communities in the Malagun District of Kaura LGA at around 6pm, killing  40 people and injuring eight in a “well coordinated attack.”  A Catholic priest who witnessed it described the two hour attack as “a massacre against the natives.” The assailants reportedly arrived in significant numbers, and initially targeted people known to coordinate security for the community, and their families, before murdering other victims and burning down 20 homes. The victims reportedly included 13 people from the same family.

Senator Danjuma La’ah, who represents Kaduna South in the National Assembly, condemned the relentless violence in southern Kaduna and insisted on the victims receiving a fitting burial, donating over N1 Million (approximately GBP £1780) for the purchase of caskets and preparation of the bodies.  He also called for increased security, adding that if the authorities fail to take proactive measures to address the issue, the people will be left with no option except self-defence.

The spokesperson for the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU), Luka Binniyat, also called for increased security, adding that SOKAPU “strongly condemns the lack of seriousness by the Commander, Operation Safe Haven, Maj. Gen. Ibrahim Sallau, who is also the GOC, 3 Division, Nigerian Army Jos… […] As of now, the most protected areas of Southern Kaduna are the Hausa and Fulani settler communities. They’ve [sic] heavy presence of Operation Safe Haven, police and related security agencies. We are therefore calling on the Nigerian Army to look into this allegation and do the needful. We’re also calling on our youths to remain vigilant, defend their communities, cooperate with security agencies and never take the law into their hands.”

Kaduna state is currently an epicentre of kidnapping and banditry activity. The predominantly Christian ethnic minority tribes who inhabit the southern part of the state have experienced relentless attacks since 2011, with a significant uptick following the advent of the current administration in 2015. The state continues to experience alarming levels of violence despite being the headquarters of 11 military installations. As one CSW source lamented: “Most communities in southern Kaduna, including some in Birnin Gwari and Igabi, have more mass graves than government projects.”

Following the attacks, the Kaduna state Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs asserted that troops were sent to the area and also came under fire, but forced the assailants to retreat before allegedly rescuing six people from burning buildings and dousing three fires.  However, local sources questioned the delayed response, since the assailants had allegedly notified villagers in advance that they would be launching an attack. The Commissioner also claimed the people in Kacecere village died in a reprisal attack.

CSW’s Founder President Mervyn Thomas said: “Once again our hearts break for the people of southern Kaduna who continue to face relentless violence on a near daily basis. We extend our deepest condolences to all those who lost loved ones in these attacks, and pray for the swift return of all abductees. The state and federal governments must do far more to protect all vulnerable communities in an unbiased manner, and to combat the threats posed by Fulani militia and other armed non-state actors. This is also not the first time allegations have been made of inadequate protection despite warnings of an impending attack. This is concerning, and must be investigated by the Nigerian government, and failing that, by the wider international community.”

Note to Editors:

  1. The Catholic Priest of St Thomas Quasi Parish, Mallagum, Rev. Fr Cosmos Michael Magaji named33 of the victims as
  • Mrs Lami Yakubu Adakai
  • Mrs Fkorenc Yakubu Adakai
  • Danlami Adakai
  • Samaila Adakai
  • Garba Simon
  • Patrick Bala
  • Kato Achigaba
  • Andrew Lekwot
  • Lawrence Andrew
  • Victor Joseph
  • Philemon Akant Habiba
  • Sofio Bala Bwachat
  • Siman Zamani
  • Danjuma Yusuf
  • Friday Bulus
  • Eunice Ibrahim
  • Stephen Nkom
  • Yusuf Zuwahu
  • Genesis Danjuma
  • Bulus Markus
  • Ezekiel Bobai
  • Talatu Ezekiel
  • Bonat Francis
  • ThankGod Hananiya
  • Raymond La’aki
  • Musa Yashim
  • Janet Duniya
  • Paul Akwok
  • Yohanna Gagarau
  • Lucy Kambai
  • Faith Bala
  • Esther Luka
  • Philip Kamba

Photo : csw.org

Further reading about FORB in Nigeria on HRWF website





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ERITREA : Seventy Christians released from three prisons

CSW (05.02.2021) – https://bit.ly/36QZVIjCSW has been informed that 70 Christians from evangelical and orthodox backgrounds were recently released from three prisons in Eritrea. 

On 1 February, 21 female and 43 male prisoners were released from Mai Serwa and Adi Abeito prisons, close to the capital city, Asmara.  The prisoners had been held without charge or trial for periods of between two and 12 years.

On 27 January, six female prisoners who were detained in September 2020 in Dekemhare, south-east of Asmara, were also released. The women were arrested after worshipping in public as they were walking down a street, an event which was caught on camera and circulated via social media.

While the releases have been warmly welcomed, there is also speculation that they mark the latest effort by the Eritrean regime to distract international attention from the country’s active role in the ongoing war in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, where Eritrean troops have been accused of violence which may amount to crimes against humanity, war crimes and possibly genocide.

On 4 December 2020, the government released 24 Jehovah’s Witnesses, including the high-profile conscientious objectors Paulos Eyasu, Isaac Mogos and Negede Teklemariam, who had been held for 26 years, and whose cases were highlighted by the former UN Special Rapporteur on Eritrea in her final statement to the UN Third Committee in New York in October 2020. (…)

CSW’s Founder President Mervyn Thomas said: “CSW welcomes the release of these Christians in Eritrea, who were detained without charge or trial, and should never have been incarcerated. However, this good news must not obscure the Eritrean regime’s continued complicity in egregious violations of human rights, both within its own borders and now in Tigray. We call on the international community to press Eritrea for the immediate and unconditional release of all those detained arbitrarily on account of their religion or belief.  We also call for urgent action to arrest the unfolding crisis in Tigray, including by imposing arms embargoes on the warring parties, and sanctions on the leaders of Ethiopia and Eritrea, who bear ultimate responsibility for human rights violations that are allegedly being committed with impunity by their respective forces.”

Photo: Source: US Central Intelligence Agency. The information on this map, including the location of the Eritrea-Ethiopia border, should not be considered authoritative and does not imply endorsement by Human Rights Watch.





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EGYPT: Sectarian violence breaks out in Minya

Sectarian violence broke out in the village of Barsha in Minya governorate, Upper Egypt, on 25 November, when hundreds of local Muslim villagers attacked the homes and properties of local Christians.

 

CSW (27.11.2020) – https://bit.ly/2Jth3ew – The incident began after rumours circulated that a Christian man, who remains anonymous to ensure his security, had posted a comment on his personal Facebook page that was deemed insulting to Islam. The man claims that his page had been hacked.

 

The assailants also attempted to attack the church of Abou Sefin, where the congregation was celebrating the beginning of the Coptic fast. A minibus belonging to the church was burnt, and several homes and properties were damaged, but no one was hurt. Police were deployed quickly, and arrested a number of local Muslims and Christians who were involved in clashes.

 

The allegation that sparked the violence comes amid a significant increase in the number of people arrested on charges relating to contempt of religion and blasphemy during 2020.

 

CSW’s CEO Scot Bower said: “While we are relieved that nobody was hurt in this incident, the Egyptian government must do far more to combat sectarian violence and bring an end to the culture of collective punishment in the Minya region. This incident must be thoroughly investigated, with those responsible brought to justice. The societal hostility underpinning sectarian discord, which facilitates frequent outbreaks of violence in the area, must also be addressed.  We encourage the Egyptian authorities to engage positively with human rights organisations to promote religious diversity and equality of citizenship through civic engagement and education.”

Photo: Scenes of sectarian violence in Barsha, Minya. Credit: CSW.





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EGYPT: Coptic Christians targeted with mob violence

A mob of Muslim extremists attacked the Coptic Community in the village of Dabbous in the Samalout suburb of Minya governorate, Upper Egypt, on 5 October. A number of the attackers have been arrested, along with several Copts who tried to defend themselves.

 

CSW (12.10.2020) – https://bit.ly/3nJvcUg – Tension arose during a Coptic wedding on 3 October when a fight broke out between some Copts and two Muslim men from a neighbouring village, who were supported by local Muslims. Two days later, a large mob attacked the Christian community in the village, throwing stones at them and their homes and causing some property damage.

 

Samalout police were deployed to the village in the aftermath of the attacks and arrested 12 Copts and an unknown number of Muslims. Efforts are underway to convince Copts and Muslims in the village to hold a reconciliation session.

 

Reconciliation meetings are extra-judicial procedures commonly used to resolve sectarian disputes. They generally impose ad-hoc and often unconstitutional conditions on the victims of the violence, with the authorities often accepting the outcome in lieu of investigating and prosecuting the actual perpetrators of the violence.

 

Dabbous is home to a church building which was constructed in 2005. However, extremists have refused to allow local Christians to use it for worship purposes and the building has been under police protection since 2008. Over 2,000 Copts live in the village, but they are obliged to travel to neighbouring villages to attend church services.

 

CSW’s Founder President Mervyn Thomas said: “More must be done by the Egyptian government to end sectarian discord and violence in Upper Egypt, including by ensuring that incidents such as this are thoroughly investigated and those responsible are brought to justice through judicial processes and not, as is being sought in this case, informal extra-judicial procedures. CSW is also concerned that despite recent progress in the legalisation of  church buildings, the Copts in Dabbous have not been able to use their church building since 2005, in violation of their right to freedom of religion or belief. This outstanding injustice within the community must also be tackled as a matter of urgency, including through civic engagement and education that promote religious diversity and equality of citizenship.”





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ERITREA: Conditional release of 27 Christian prisoners

CSW has confirmed that 27 Eritrean Christians were released from Mai Serwa Prison near Eritrea’s capital, Asmara, on 4 and 8 September, possibly in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

CSW (11.09.2020) – https://bit.ly/2FxpoM0  – According to CSW’s sources, the group consisted of 19 men and eight women who had been detained without charge or trial for between two and 16 years, and who are thought to be the first of around 54 anticipated releases. However, the releases are reportedly conditional on the submission of  property deeds ensuring their guarantors are held liable for their future actions.

 

Sources confirmed that the releases did not include any detained church leaders.  Moreover, the releases were preceded by the arrests of several Christians in Asmara, including around four church leaders, two weeks earlier.

 

Commenting on these events, a CSW source said: “It is a government strategy. They cannot detain everybody, so they keep you for some time, hoping that you will become weak or frightened.  Then they put in other people. They release and put other people in prison at the same time.”

 

The source put the number of Christians currently detained at a little over 300, including 39 children, “although these numbers fluctuate.”

 

Tens of thousands of Eritreans are currently held without charge or trial in life threatening conditions in more than 300 sites across the country. Among those incarcerated are prisoners of conscience, some of whom have been detained for well over a decade on account of their political views or religious beliefs. Conditions in these facilities are overcrowded, unsanitary and inadequate; detention facilities include shipping containers, underground cells, and the open air in the desert, and access to medical attention is insufficient and often withheld as punishment. Mai Serwa prison, where the former detainees were jailed, is infamous for utilising metal shipping containers as holding cells.

 

The spate of recent releases is being attributed to the spread of COVID-19 in the country’s overcrowded prison system.  However, Eritrea is officially reporting just 341 cases, and claims that no one has died of the virus so far. There has been no independent verification of these assertions.

 

In an earlier development, reports emerged in August indicating that members of the Muslim community who were detained in 2018 in connection with protests following the death of respected Muslim elder Haji Musa Mohammed Nur had been released.

 

CSW’s Founder President Mervyn Thomas said: “While applauding the fact that people who were deprived of their liberty have regained their freedom, it is also important to recall that they were detained arbitrarily and without due process for excessive periods simply on account of their religious beliefs.  Moreover, these releases remain conditional, as they were secured by property deeds, leaving the guarantors vulnerable to losing their properties.  The guarantors could also lose their freedom should a former detainee exercise the right to leave the country, a right articulated in Article 12 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Eritrea is party. Far more prisoners of conscience remain arbitrarily detained than have been released, and the fact that these releases were preceded by further arrests is indicative of an ongoing repression of the right to freedom of religion or belief.  CSW therefore continues to call for the immediate and unconditional release of prisoners detained arbitrarily, particularly in view of a pandemic that poses a risk to life for those still held in inhumane conditions.”


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