Speaking in an exclusive interview with TheCable News on Tuesday, Ibrahim Yakubu, vicar-general of the Kafanchan Catholic diocese in Kaduna state, says it has evidence to prove that 808 people were killed in the southern part of the state.
The priest who said the killings allegedly carried out by herdsmen were between 2011 and 2016, is reacting to the federal government and security agencies who had disputed the casualty figure when it was first made public late last year.
The influential cleric challenged those in doubt to come forward with their own evidence, saying the church was in possession of the record since its members were the ones involved.
“We expected that the security agencies would have flushed out the attackers from their hideouts in the bushes and hills, but that has not been done yet and people are still leaving in fear.
“Those disputing that 808 people were killed in the attacks by herdsmen should produce their own evidence.
“The church has the records of the attacks and the killings. The death toll recorded was from the end of 2011 to the end of 2016.
“I have read the figures given by NEMA in north-west, we have details of our the attacks, killings and destructions, it is our members that were killed and we have all the records,” he said.
The bishop of the Anglican diocese in Kanfachan, Markus Dogo, said though calm had returned to some parts of the regions, killings were ongoing in the rural areas, and appealed to the security personnel deployed to the area to go into the hideouts of the attackers.
“Last week somebody by name Peter Danbaki was killed in a village called Bakin Kogi on Monday and he was buried on Wednesday.
“Up till now the farms are not accessible because the herdsmen are still in their hideouts and no farm dares to go to farm. We are yet to see the military or police entering the bushes to chase these people from their hideout.
“Life is gong on in the towns, people are moving here and there. Yesterday, I went to Gidan Waya and I came back without any problem.
“We were thinking that with the security presence, there could have been some kind of manhunt, some kind of invasion of the bushes by the security agencies to flush out the killers from their hide outs, but we have not seen that yet.
“I cannot say that we are not satisfied with the security steps taken, but we are expecting that more should be done. Our people are predominantly farmers and they want to be able to go to their farms freely without being killed or harm.
“So, they are expecting that the security personnel should comb the bushes where the herdsmen are hiding. Some people have not harvest their farm produce because of fear. So we want the security agencies to do more especially in rural communities were the killings took were taking place,” he said.