Suspected armed bandits Wednesday killed at least 25 people in attacks on two villages in Birnin Magaji Local Government Area of Zamfara State, Daily Trust learnt yesterday.
Residents said in the afternoon, a motor bike-riding gang of armed men opened fire on locals harvesting sweet potatoes on their farms at Garin Halilu village, killing nine on the spot.
The attackers were said to have returned to the community and killed three others around 5:00pm when the bodies of the slain farmers were being prepared for burials.
“They then proceeded to neighboring Gidan Kaka village and shot dead nine persons there. And the remaining four persons killed were from Nassarawa Gödel village who went to offer help to those under attack at Gidan Haliliu,” a resident.
The spokesman of the state police command, Muhammad Shehu, however said only five persons were killed and that calm had returned.
“The Zamfara State Police Command wishes to Confirm that On 19/12/2018 at about 1505hrs, a group of armed bandits attacked some villagers of Gidan Halilu Village in Billashe district of Birnin Magaji LGA on their farms. On receipt of the report, Combined teams of PMF/CTU and Conventional police personnel headed by the Area Commander Kauran Namoda mobilized to the affected village to repel the attack, restore normalcy and arrest the perpetrators.
“On getting to the scene, five corpses were recovered with one other person injured. The corpses were taken to Hospital in Birnin Magaji, while the injured person was admitted for treatment. The scene and its environs have been subjected to extensive bush combing with a view to prevent further attack,” he said. He asked members of the public to remain vigilant and report any suspicious movement to the nearest police station for prompt action.
Meanwhile, the chairman of Tsafe Local Government Area of the state, Aliyu Abukabar, yesterday told Daily Trust that about 40 people were killed and 1,700 others displaced in his local government in the last two weeks.
He said more than five communities were sacked in recent attacks by suspected armed bandits and cattle rustlers in the local government as more people were trooping in to the local government headquarters for refuge.
He mentioned the affected villages as Asaula, Kwadawa, Dogon Kawo, Mandaba, Yanza, Kulutu, Sakkya and Fegin Dakai, all in the eastern Tsafe.
He said the recent deadly raids on the communities especially in eastern Tsafe followed the seizure of 480 cows belonging to one notorious cattle rustler identified by security operatives as Ado Alero.
“Angered by the seizure of the cows he rustled from the neighbouring Kaduna state, the notorious cattle rustler organized his boys attacking communities in retaliation. We are calling on the security operatives especially the Air Force to step up their air attacks on the identified camps of these criminals. More deployment of security operatives to the state especially to my local is highly needed to curtail the menace of armed banditry and cattle rustling plaguing our communities,” he said.
He said health officials and other supporting personnel had been despatched to the Internally Displaced Persons camp as funds were made available for their feeding and other needs.
“We have also footed the medical bills of those who were injured in the attacks and they are responding well to the treatments at various medical facilities across the state,” he said. Some of the victims taking refuge at the Government Girls Focal Secondary School in Tsafe town narrated their ordeals.
Alhaji Yusuf Wambai, village head of Asaula community, said he was the first person to flee his village when he learnt that the armed had intensified attacks on the neighbouring communities.
“I left the village and my subjects followed me. We are not secured the government should deployed more security operatives to our communities,” he pleaded.
A pregnant woman, identified as Ra’aina, said she trekked several kilometres alongside her husband to the headquarters of Tsafe local government for safety.
However, a police source said the villages affected were mostly deserted with the armed bandits torching local grain silos abandoned by the residents.