VERDICT: True but with misleading narratives
THE CLAIM: On the eve of the now postponed presidential and national assembly elections, the Kaduna state government announced that 66 people had been killed in attacks on communities in Kajuru local government of the state.
In an interview on Channels TV, Nasir el-Rufai, governor of Kaduna, was heard saying 66 Fulani were killed in Maro, Kajuru local government area of the state. Soon after the news broke, people started questioning its authenticity. The Punch newspaper published a report on Sunday quoting the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) who said it was false that the attack occurred on Friday as reported by the state government. CAN suggested that the attacks happened earlier in the week and might have been tit-for-tat between the Adara and their Fulani neighbours.
“We are aware that the incident happened in the late hours of Sunday 10 February to February 12, 2019, at about 1 am at Gindin Gada in the Maro Ward of Kajuru Local Government, Kaduna State where unidentified hoodlums went into the village and killed about 11 people in their sleep,” Joseph Hayab, the state chairman of CAN, said.
“The incident led to reprisals. Two of the suspects were said to have been apprehended and handed over to the Divisional Police Officer in the area.”
Also, the zonal coordinator, north-west of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Ishaya Chonoko, told the newspaper that there was no attack on the eve of the election.
He also suggested that the casualty figure might have been exaggerated.
“It is not true that 66 people were killed in Kaduna State. I am in Kaduna now, and I can confirm to you that I am not aware of any 66 people that were murdered in Kajuru Local Government Area by any unknown gunmen,” he said.
“There was an attack last week (Sunday) where 11 people were said to have been killed. It was the usual tribal clash between the Fulani and the indigenes. Anytime there is a clash between two tribes in Kaduna; there is usually reprisal.”
Similarly, Shehu Sani, the senator representing Kaduna central, said the report did not occur on the eve of the election unlike what was reported by the state government.
“He said, “What the people of the area told me was that the issue happened since Sunday and the security agencies waded in and resolved it immediately. No tension can threaten peace in the area.”
A Premium Times report also revealed that the attacks were a reprisal for an earlier attack. The story also suggested that the casualties were not only Fulani as claimed by El-Rufai. An Al-Jazeera report suggested that the death toll may be more than the reported 66.
However, media reports claimed the number of bodies recovered so far is less than 40, unlike the 66 initially reported by the state government.
FACT: Therefore, CDD deduced from the reports of the incident from multiple choices above, that attacks occurred in the area. However, they did not happen on the eve of the election as claimed by the Kaduna State government. We also deduced that due to the reprisal nature of the attacks, both Adara and Fulani people were killed in the attacks, unlike El-Rufai’s claim that only Fulani was killed.
We also can deduce that the number of bodies recovered so far is up to the 66 originally claimed by the Kaduna government. However, if more bodies are found, the number of deaths may well get to that number or more.