Eleven members of the same family were locked up and burnt in their house in Kaduna yesterday by armed bandits who invaded their Bakali Village in Fatika district of Giwa Local Government Area. It was learnt that the 11 victims were among 21 residents of the village who lost their lives to the unprovoked attack during which the gunmen set houses ablaze.
The attack came barely three days after suspected Boko Haram insurgents invaded Auno Village in Borno State, killing 10 people and destroying 18 vehicles.A community leader and head of the family of the burnt 11 victims in Kaduna, Malam Sani Bakali, told journalists that the gunmen stormed the village around 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday and operated for two hours.
“The bandits stormed our village on several motorbikes, brandishing AK47 riffles. Immediately they came, they started moving round the village, shooting sporadically. In the process, they came to our house and set it ablaze, with 11 people inside. All the 11 people were members of my family. They included three women and eight children, who were wives and children of my three younger brothers.
“They also killed two of my uncles. While on the bush path, we discovered four other bodies burnt to death. They equally killed two imams, one of them was my neighbour and a close friend.“We just performed the funeral prayer for the victims this afternoon (Wednesday). Initially, it was 20 bodies that we buried before we later discovered one more body inside the bush, and we buried him too.
“Right now, people have fled the village. I am the only one left because I have come to pick something. I just took one of my brothers and his two wives to Zaria. I am about leaving now myself.“Apart from those killed, there are nine people we are yet to see since after the incident. As it is now, we don’t know whether they have been killed or not,” Bakali said.
When contacted, the new Kaduna State Police Command Public Relations Officer, ASP Muhamnad Jalige, confirmed the attack, though he could not confirm the casualty figures.Jalige said: “There was an attack in Giwa, Bakali village to be precise, and we have sent a team of police officers and men there to ascertain the situation of things. We are going to get across to you as soon as we have the details.”
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has returned to Nigeria from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and was in Maiduguri, Borno State capital, yesterday where he met with Governor Babagana Zulum over the killing of the 10 people by terrorists. Buhari departed Abuja last Friday to attend the 33rd Ordinary Session of Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
While sympathising with the victims of insurgency at the palace of the Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Abubakar Ibn Umar Garbai El-Kanemi, Buhari urged the monarch and his people to cooperate with the military and other security agencies in fighting Boko Haram. He blamed the continuing terror and insecurity in Borno State and its environs on the community leaders.
“Boko Haram cannot come up to Maiduguri or its environs without the local leadership knowing because traditionally, the local leadership is in charge of security in their own respective areas,” he said. President Buhari promised more proactive and decisive measures to put an end to the menace in the country once and for all. He noted that intelligence sharing between law enforcement agencies and the civil populace was critical towards achieving the objectives.
“I call on the leadership at various levels to cooperate with the law enforcement agencies and let us deny Boko Haram access to our loyal citizens. I assure you that improvement in security will be pursued vigorously. The military will work harder and strategise with tactics to deal with the insurgents. This is, however, not possible without good intelligence and cooperation with local community leaders.
“We will do our best and I hope history will be kind to us; to recall what was on the ground when we came and what will be on the ground when we leave,” he added.The president who refused to shake some of the traditional rulers that welcomed him at the airport by 1:30 p.m., said: “The cooperation of your people with our troops and other security agencies by providing credible information could end insurgency not only in Borno but other states of Yobe and Adamawa.”
Buhari later proceeded to the Government House, Maiduguri for his lunch and prayers, and later took his flight to Abuja by 3:30 p.m.Governor Babagana Zulum, at the airport and Shehu’s palace, urged the president to deploy more troops to Boko Haram hideouts in the Sambisa Forest and Lake Chad region.He said the insurgents launched their attacks from the forests and other hideouts, including some of the caves at Mandara Mountains in Gwoza Local Government Area.
Contrary to the expectations of the affected communities, Buhari cancelled his planned visit to Auno.“There is no need to go to Auno, as the president’s visit to Borno was to condole with the victims and people of the state,” Garba Shehu, senior special assistant to the president, said.
Residents of Bulumkutu at the airport round about protested against President Buhari’s visit saying “Bamu so, bamu so ziyarka Buhari” meaning “we don’t want your visit.” They said the president’s visit was belated, after loss of many lives and property in previous attacks and bombings in the state.In its reaction, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said that the rejection of President Buhari was a clear message to him that Nigerians held him responsible for the escalated insecurity in the country.
The party also charged Buhari to go beyond his sympathy visit to Borno and take decisive steps to end the killings in that state and other parts of the country. According to PDP, the rejection also showed a loss of confidence in the Buhari presidency and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
The PDP, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, demanded that the president should not limit his visit to Borno but also visit other parts of the country, including Kaduna, Kano, Benue, Plateau, Yobe, Adamawa, Zamfara, Kogi, Niger and Taraba to face the feelings of Nigerians as well as view the national devastation his poor handling of security and infrastructure has caused the nation.
The party expressed the hope that the visit to Borno, which came only after Nigerians criticised the president for his aloofness, particularly over the Auno killing on Sunday, was not part of the usual presidential media stunts that would not be followed with a corresponding action to track down killers and end terrorism.
Meanwhile, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) condemned the reported killings of over 30 people at Auno and reiterated its call on President Buhari to totally overhaul the security architecture of the country. According to reports, the victims arrived at the military checkpoint leading into Maiduguri after 5:00 p.m. when the entry point to Maiduguri is usually shut for security purposes and so they had no choice but to sleep in Auno, the neighbouring village on the Maiduguri-Damaturu Highway where they were attacked, killed and their vehicles and property vandalised by the insurgents. Some women and children were reportedly abducted by the terrorists.
In a statement yesterday in Abuja, CAN President, Rev. Samson Ayokunle, urged the military authorities to investigate the circumstances that led to the emergence of the gate instead of adequate provision of security on the road in order to stop the incessant invasion of Maiduguri and terror attacks in the area. Ayokunle alleged that sabotage and compromise were largely responsible for the prolonged terrorism, banditry, kidnappings and herdsmen killings in the country and wondered that if the road must be closed while security protection was not made available for the travellers who would arrive there after the closure.
“Was there any evidence that a thorough check was carried out on the travellers and their vehicles to confirm if they were armed? That is why we salute the popular position of Governor Zulum who has been consistently critical of the failure of the army in stopping the menace of terrorism in the state,” he said.
“While commiserating with families of the bereaved, the people and the Borno State government, we found it rather shocking and unfathomable the reported policy of the military that necessitated closing the only entry gate against civilian citizens commuting from security risk roads and areas into Maiduguri only to become cheap preys for blood-thirsty terrorists to slaughter.
“The army and Federal Government had severally told us that terrorists had been decimated, technically defeated and chased away from the country; yet, the terrorists have become even more daring in their deadly operations, consistently attacking communities, killing, maiming, abducting and burning property with minimal or without any resistance from the frontline troops. This is totally unacceptable and it is condemnable,” he said.It was learnt yesterday that hours after Buhari left, the daring insurgents attacked Jiddari Polo, on the outskirts of Maiduguri, causing residents to flee into town. It was not certain whether there were casualties at press time yesterday.