Christian Charity Calls for Support in Strategizing against Militias in Nigeria

Tsonje village. Credit: CSW

Terrorists in Nigeria have scaled up their activities, killing large numbers of innocent civilians using high-end military equipment especially in Southern Kaduna communities, Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) has observed, and called for global cooperation in stemming violence in communities that are most affected in the West African country.

CSW Founder President Mervyn Thomas found it “concerning and unacceptable” that terrorists in Nigeria have become too powerful and are not being intercepted. 

“It is both concerning and unacceptable that these terrorists have amassed significant firepower and are able to launch successive attacks in the same area at any time and in large numbers without being intercepted,” Mr. Mervyn says in the February 4 CSW report.

Equally unacceptable, he adds, “is the muted response, both locally and internationally, to the remorseless death, destruction and displacement occurring in southern Kaduna and elsewhere in central Nigeria.” 

CSW Founder President suggests that the international community supports Nigerian authorities in formulating a strategy that will help stop terrorists in the West African nation.


“Given the recent terrorist designation of such groups, and the fact that their operations span several states, the Nigerian authorities must be encouraged and assisted to formulate a comprehensive security strategy encompassing every affected state as a matter of urgency,” he says.

Mr. Mervyn adds, “State and federal authorities must also be urged to resource and mandate the security services, enabling them to ensure immediate and effective protection for communities that have been suffering for far too long.”

In the February 4 report, the leadership of the Christian human rights group highlights various incidents of attacks in Southern Kaduna that have left many dead and others displaced.

Mr. Mervyn expresses solidarity with all the affected saying, “We extend our condolences to families that are grieving the loss of loved ones, homes and livelihoods following the attacks in Southern Kaduna and Niger States.”

CSW reports that at least 25 people have died and an unknown number have been injured and displaced “in large scale attacks” by armed assailants of Fulani origin in communities in two Local Government Areas (LGAs) in Southern Kaduna State in Central Nigeria.

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“The attacks have been ongoing since 30 January,” CSW leadership reports, and adds, “So far 11 people are confirmed to have died in an attack on the Maraban Kagoro area of Kaura LGA that occurred on the evening of 3 February.”

On the same day, gunmen invaded Maigiginya village in Igabi LGA, killing at least one person and kidnapping many others, CSW leadership reports, adding, “The victim, named as Mr. Sunday Chiroma, was due to get married on 5 February.”

Following the attack, a CSW source laments, “The issues are simply overwhelming. It is one attack too many. The government and all of us seem to have run out of ideas on what to do.”

In the February 4 report, another source says that the Kaduna State authorities should “stop giving us figures and reports and rise up to the occasion.”

“Our villages are being sacked one after the other. There is a mobilization against us… and the nation is at ease. Anytime we raise our voices, we also become targets,” the source told CSW. 


Other sources who spoke to the UK-based human rights agency described militia men as numbering “in their hundreds”, noting that the attackers attacked Tsonje village, located near Kagoro town in Kaura LGA, from 10 a.m. until 12 p.m. on February 1.

They are said to have killed two people, injured an unknown number, and burned over 40 homes, grain silos “and anything in sight.”  

The assailants returned later that day “with heavy reinforcements” and attacked the village from 4 p.m. until 6 p.m. without being intercepted, CSW has reported. 

On January 31, assailants identified as Fulani are also said to have “raped, macheted, and maimed several women” who had gone to their farmlands to gather wood, and ambushed students from the College of Education Gidan Waya as they returned from school. One of the students is confirmed to have died in hospital.     

CSW reports that Kaduna State has become “an epicentre of kidnapping and violence” by non-state actors “despite being the most garrisoned State in Nigeria.”

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Statistics in Nigeria indicate that 1,192 people were killed and 3,348 abducted across Kaduna State during 2021. The fatalities comprised 1,038 men, 104 women and 50 children. 

As well as the violence in Southern Kaduna, around 11 communities in Birnin Gwari LGA in the North of the state reportedly paid over N30million (about US$72,000.00) to secure a peace deal with armed assailants who regularly renege on their commitment.

Agnes Aineah is a Kenyan journalist with a background in digital and newspaper reporting. She holds a Master of Arts in Digital Journalism from the Aga Khan University, Graduate School of Media and Communications and a Bachelor's Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communications from Kenya's Moi University. Agnes currently serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.