Multiple attacks by bandits on many villages in three local government areas of Faskari, Sabuwa and Dandume in Katsina State on Tuesday has led to the death of over 60 people, locals said.
But the state police command said only 20 people were killed during the simultaneous attacks.
- No more negotiation with bandits in Katsina — Masari
- Many killed as bandits attack several Katsina villages
Our correspondent reports that the deteriorating security in Katsina heightened in the last few days despite the recent directive by President Muhammadu Buhari for the military and other security operatives to bring the problem to an end.
Less than ten days ago, Governor Aminu Bello Masari said they had closed any negotiation with the bandits because they (bandits) had repeatedly betrayed agreements in line with the amnesty granted them.
It is not yet clear whether the recent attacks were in response to the offensive by the federal government or the decision of the Katsina government.
The Tuesday killings
Our correspondent reports that in Kadisau village in Faskari Local Government Area (LGA), locals said they counted over 32 dead bodies while 25 others who sustained injuries are now receiving treatment at different hospitals.
The locals said the bandits, riding on motorcycle, besieged the village at about 5pm on Tuesday and opened fire at a local football pitch where youths were playing and killed many of them.
A source said the bandits later went to houses in the village shooting sporadically.
“They spent three hours carrying out the killing spree because it was only around 8pm that they left the village.
“The bandits came on more than 150 motorcycles carrying between 2 and 3 persons on each,” he said.
According to the source: “At Kadisau alone, we counted 32 corpses so far and we were set for their burial this morning (Wednesday) before news reached us that the bandits were spotted at a neighbouring village.
“We had to abandon the burial and fled for our lives.
“The military are here now with us providing us cover to bury the dead.
“Looking at the way the attack was carried out, Kadisau village was the prime target.
“The bandits passed through all those villages along the way without attacking any of them until they got here.
“It was after the attack and on their way back that they attacked other hamlets,” he said.
A breakdown of people killed by the bandits showed that 32 were killed in Kadisau and 9 at Hayin Kabalawa Faskari.
At Dandume LGA, they killed six people at Garke, five at Makera and two at Kwakwere and two at Mai Ganguna village of Sabuwa LGA.
However, the spokesman for the Katsina State Police Command, SP Gambo Isah, said the bandits numbering over 200 attacked Kadisau village with the intent of stealing food items and other materials.
He said unfortunately, some youths came out and confronted them with bare hands and the bandits opened fire on the innocent souls.
“As of Tuesday, 14 people were reportedly killed while 26 were admitted at the hospital.
“This morning (Wednesday), four more people died rising the number to 20,” he said.
He said security agents were doing all things possible to ensure peace returned to the frontline areas and called for credible information from the locals to address the challenge.
Daily Trust recalled that residents of Yantumaki town, Danmusa Local Government Area of Katsina State on Tuesday morning embarked on a protest against bandits’ attacks in the town and in the neighbouring communities.
Witnesses said the protesters barricaded the Katsina/Kankara major highway and blocked the road leading to the town with tyres, wood and debris.
They also called on the federal government to save their souls.
81 people buried in Borno village
The Borno State governor, Prof. Babagana Zulum, on Wednesday confirmed that 81 civilians were buried following the attack by suspected Boko Haram insurgents in the northern part of the state on Tuesday.
Daily Trust had reported on Wednesday that Boko Haram insurgents killed 69 persons at Foduma Kolomaiya village, 11 kilometres away from Gazaure town of Gubio Local Government Area of Borno State on Tuesday.
The terrorists reportedly went back to the village yesterday and inflicted more havoc on the people.
Governor Babagana Zulum, who visited the village yesterday, said he was devastated.
Lone survivor describes terror attack
A survivor told Zulum that 81 residents were killed during the attack on Tuesday, while 13 persons were injured and seven others including village head abducted.
The survivor was the only one who escaped the attack, government officials said.
According to him: “The insurgents in gun trucks and armoured tanks came around 10am yesterday (Tuesday).
“They operated for about six hours and left around 4pm.
“They gathered us and said they wanted to deliver religious sermon to us.
“They asked us to submit whatever arm we had.
“Some villagers gave up their dane guns, bow and arrows.
“The insurgents pretended as if they were not there for any violence.
“Suddenly, they started shooting at will.
“Even children and women were not spared; many were shot at close range.
“Many started running.
“At the end, many people were killed.
“We have been burying people since 10:00pm last night to about 6am this morning.
“We buried 49 corpses here while another 32 corpses were taken away by families from the villages around us.
“The insurgents abducted seven persons including our village head.
“They went away with 400 cattle,” he said.
A resident from a neighbouring village corroborated what Zulum was told by the survivor.
There were fears amongst residents of neighbouring villages that the casualties could be higher than 81 since tracing was ongoing.
While sympathising with the people over the attack, Governor Zulum urged the Nigerian military to undertake a final onslaught that should put an end to the ongoing mayhem in the Lake Chad region.
Zulum described the attack as barbaric and unfortunate even as he evacuated five injured persons in his convoy, for treatment at an undisclosed hospital.
“Last year, about the same number of people were killed in Gajiram just the way it happened now.
“This is barbaric. It is very unfortunate.
“The only solution to end this massacre is by dislodging the insurgents in the shores of Lake Chad.
“Doing so will require collaborative regional efforts,” Zulum said.
It was observed that the insurgents did not set the place ablaze as they often did in other attacks.
5 civilians killed, 9 missing
Another story filtered on Wednesday that five civilians were killed and 9 others kidnapped when suspected Boko Haram insurgents attacked three communities, including Kondori village, 6 kilometres away from Jakana in Konduga Local Government Area of Borno State on Sunday.
“They killed three persons and four others were seriously injured,” a vigilante said.
“One of the injured persons gave up today (Wednesday) due to severe wounds.
“As I am speaking with you, our village is deserted because they burnt down the whole village,” he said.
It was also gathered that the terrorists stormed Jawuri at Ngomari cross of Jere LGA where they abducted 10 people including three girls.
A resident of the area, Mallam Umaru Bukar, disclosed that they later released an old man on Sunday evening after spending five hours with them.
Buhari asks military to act
President Muhammadu Buhari Wednesday charged the armed forces “to extract a heavy price from the attackers and bring back all those they kidnapped as well as the large number of cattle rustled.”
The president, who condemned the incident in a statement issued by his spokesman, Garba Shehu, said he was “deeply shocked” by the news of one of the most brutal terrorist attacks on innocent people that emerged from the Northeast.
Buhari, who was expecting a detailed briefing from Governor Babagana Zulum on the outcome of his visit to the affected communities, said the “primordial nature of the killings is particularly shocking because it happened not long after the Ramadan and eid and the country is preparing to celebrate the Democracy Day.”
Also, the House of Representatives has urged the North East Development Commission (NEDC) to provide needed support to Borno villages where insurgents killed about 96 people in reprisal attack.
This followed resolution of a motion sponsored by Usman Zannah (APC, Borno) at plenary on Wednesday.
He recalled that the insurgents had earlier attacked the villages in a bid to rustle their cattle but faced resistance from the villagers.
“Pained by the villagers’ resistance, the insurgents regrouped and invaded the villages in a reprisal attacks resulting in the mass killing of people,” he said.