Southern Kaduna has been ravaged by violent conflict for several years now, with the cycle of killings and bloodletting showing no signs of abating.
Last week, terrorists killed 17 persons, including a policeman, in Southern Kaduna, and injured others. The attack took place in a community in Zango Kataf Local Council of Kaduna State.
Less than a week later, no fewer than 10 people were killed again in the same area. Four people were also injured in the incident.
In his reaction, President Muhammadu Buhari demanded the swift arrest and punishment for the culprits.
“There is a concerted attack on innocent citizens in the state and the security and law enforcement agencies must take serious action to put an end to this,” said the president.
We recall that last year, the Southern Kaduna People’s Union (SOKAPU) had alleged that, within six years,148 communities were attacked in Southern Kaduna while 200,000 natives were displaced.
Indeed, the scale of the tragedy cannot be overstated, with countless lives lost and communities destroyed.
In the considered opinion of this newspaper, the situation demands urgent action to end the cycle of violence and promote peace and unity in the region.
It is heart-wrenching to see how the people of Southern Kaduna have suffered over the years. It is particularly troubling that the conflict has taken on religious and ethnic dimensions, with various ethnic groups attacking one another.
This kind of violence is not only unnecessary but also unacceptable in a society that values peaceful coexistence and mutual respect.
In our view, it is important to recognise that there are no winners in this conflict. Every life lost is a tragedy, every community destroyed is a setback, and every act of violence further entrenches mistrust and division. The only way forward is to find a peaceful resolution to the conflict, one that respects the rights and dignity of all communities involved.
To achieve lasting peace in Southern Kaduna, there are several steps that must be taken. First and foremost, there must be a commitment from all sides to dialogue and negotiation. Violence begets violence, and the only way to break the cycle is through peaceful means. All parties must be willing to come to the table with an open mind and a willingness to compromise.
Secondly, there must be an end to impunity. Too often, those who perpetrate violence in Southern Kaduna are not held accountable for their actions. This sends the message that violence is an acceptable means of settling disputes, and it only serves to embolden those who are committed to violence. The government must ensure that those who commit violent acts are brought to justice, regardless of their religion or ethnicity.
Thirdly, there must be efforts to build trust and understanding among communities. This can be achieved through community dialogue, education, and cultural exchange programmes. When people get to know one another and learn about their cultures, it becomes much harder for them to view others as enemies. By promoting understanding and respect, we can build bridges between communities and reduce the likelihood of conflict.
Fourthly, there must be a commitment to addressing the root causes of the conflict. In many cases, the violence in Southern Kaduna is driven by economic and political factors, such as competition for resources and political power. Addressing these underlying issues will require a long-term commitment from the government and other stakeholders.
However, if we are serious about achieving lasting peace, we must be willing to tackle these issues head-on.
Furthermore, there must be a commitment to providing support to communities affected by the conflict. This includes providing humanitarian assistance to those who have been displaced or otherwise affected by the violence. It also means supporting efforts to rebuild communities that have been destroyed by the conflict. By providing support to these communities, we can help them to recover and rebuild, and reduce the risk of further violence.
In view of the foregoing, we insist that the cycle of killings and bloodletting in Southern Kaduna must stop. The violence has caused untold suffering and has threatened the social fabric of the region. The only way to break the cycle of violence is through dialogue, understanding, and a commitment to peace.
We must all work together to build bridges between communities, promote understanding and respect, and address the root causes of the conflict. With dedication and determination, we can build a more peaceful and prosperous Southern Kaduna.