On 17 July 2020, Dorcas Shagari (3) and Faith Shagari (6) were killed alongside their 25-year old mother, Gloria, in Doka Avong, in Kajuru Local Government Area of Kaduna State. Also killed with the Shagaris was 40-year old Hussani Danda. Six days later, seven people were killed in the same village: Mallam Albarka (85), John Mallam (80), Jumare Sule (76), Daniel Mukardas (70), Hannatu Garba (55), Livinus Danmori (52) and Thaddeus Albarka (32), who refused to leave his 85-year old father’s side.

The year 2020 has been a truly difficult year for residents of Southern Kaduna. As of the morning of 25 July 2020, this year has seen 83 distinct incidents in the state, which have claimed at least 511 lives. Aside from the obvious economic and social consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, the area has continued to experience incessant violence, killings, and displacement of residents. The violence in Southern Kaduna is deeply rooted in what the government says is “…an evil combination of politically-motivated banditry, revenge killings and mutual violence by criminal gangs acting on ethnic and religious grounds.”

Despite enjoying robust security deployments, including Special Forces of the Nigerian Army, surveillance aircraft by the Nigerian Air Force and mobile police units scattered across the region on a 24-hour basis aimed to quell such violence, there appears to be little hope that the violence would cease.

Kaduna is situated in Nigeria’s wild North-West geopolitical zone, a region which Ansaru, a splinter Boko Haram faction has sought to control. Ansaru’s inability to replicate Boko Haram’s successes in the North West, due to a crackdown on the group by Nigeria’s domestic intelligence agency and partly due to operational and leadership challenges, has allowed various groups to fight for territory in the region. The Boko Haram faction led by Abubakar Shekau is also making a play for the region and has recently created terror cells in Zamfara and Katsina states. On Saturday 19th July, a bomb explosion in Yammama Village, a few kilometres from Malumfashi, Katsina State killed at least six children and left many others injured. A Major, 2 other officers and 17 soldiers killed with several others injured by terrorists in Jibia LGA in Katsina State. The incident occurred shortly after an explosion killed at least 5 children in the same state. Although yet to be acknowledged publicly by government officials, these twin attacks are indications that a terror group greater than mere bandits with equal firepower and strength to take on the Nigerian state. This may as well point to Boko Haram.

Of equal importance is a lack of consequences on perpetrators of past violence, further emboldening reprisal attacks from the previous victims or repeat violence from these past perpetrators. This creates a vicious cycle of ever-escalating violence.

The violence in the area threatens the economic stability in a region sustained by agriculture. Security reports show that the violence is in Southern Kaduna is partly due to a clash between militant herders and farmers, which raises lots of concerns about the effects of climate change and the struggle for limited resources in northern Nigeria. A largely agrarian Southern Kaduna under frequent outbreaks of violence spells great danger for the region. Kaduna rivals Kano as the economic nerve centre of the North West and is the gateway to the North Central, and as such, continued violence would have great impacts on the region.

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