ABUJA – Bandits in an early morning attack on Sunday massacred at least 51 villagers in Karewa, Hashimawa, Marina, Unguwan Musa and Zariyawa villages in Igabi and Giwa local government areas of Kaduna State.
Eyewitnesses said about 100 armed bandits stormed the villages gunning down worshippers as they left a mosque for morning prayers before killing residents, burning and looting homes.
They said four houses and six vehicles were destroyed in one of the villages, while the villagers are still searching for their missing family members.
“So far 50 bodies have been recovered but the figure is not conclusive and is very likely to rise as rescue efforts are still under way,” Zayyad Ibrahim, member of House of Representatives representing Igabi Federal Constituency, said.
A local security guard told VOA on Monday that the gunmen first stormed Marina village where they killed many persons before moving to Kerawa.
“We came under attack very early on Sunday morning. There is a village called Marina, the gunmen first sacked the village. There is no single person there right now. They killed so many people, including children. So far we have over 50 corpses,” he said.
“They operated unchallenged for over three hours; there was no security person that came. They burnt houses, foodstuff and vehicles. They also burnt those who were killed. They abducted people. We know their hideout and we have been complaining about them. We are appealing to government to help us by addressing this problem.”
Daiyibu Kerawa, councillor representing Kerawa, also lamented over the attack, calling for assistance.
“At about 6a.m on Sunday, gunmen stormed Marina, they surrounded the village and killed children, including Almajiri, as well as the old. They shot them and burnt them. They were going from house to house. There is a man whose grain of maize was burnt, they killed him, they killed his wife and children as well,” he said.
“In Kerawa alone, we have over 50 corpses that are yet to be buried. We are calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to come to the aide of Igabi Local Government Area. We are overwhelmed by these attacks. Buhari should send security personnel to help us. They attacked 13 villages, they did not carry anything, they just killed and burnt places.”
Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State, who visited Karewa and four other villages in Igabi and Giwa local government areas, on Monday said that his administration would not negotiate with bandits or grant them amnesty.
The governor also apologised for his administration’s inability to protect the people.
“If not for the security agencies prompt intervention they would have wiped out the entire villages.
“I also came to apologise for failure to protect you fully, we are doing our best to minimise such incidents, you should continue to forgive us.
“But we are doing the best we can and we are hoping that this banditry issue will be addressed because security personnel are on ground to manage the situation.
“In Kaduna, we have vast land, if the security close one area they attack another area,” he lamented.
The governor told the villagers that he had asked the security agencies to wipe out the bandits.
“It is our duty to wipe them out, and until we send them to their maker, the security agencies are taking the war to the forest and we are eliminating them,” he said.
According to him, security operatives intervened shortly after the attack, both on ground and in the air, and succeeded in wiping out the attackers.
“The security agencies are doing the best they can, but they find it difficult to get to remote areas in good time due to poor access roads while the natives also find it difficult to get to security personnel due to poor GSM network.
“But I am grateful to the Air Force, Army, Police and the DSS for being always prompt otherwise it would have been worse.”
He urged the people to continue to be patient and vigilant, as well as support government and security agencies to win the war against the bandits.
El-Rufai prayed for peaceful repose of the souls of those who died and directed the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) to provide relief materials for the victims.
The governor was accompanied by the GOC 1 Division, Commissioner of Police, Director DSS and chairmen of Igabi and Giwa local councils.
Earlier, the District Head of Karewa, Alhaji Ibrahim Damu, called on the state government to intensify efforts in tackling security challenges in the area, as the people were living in constant fear.
He also urged residents to be vigilant at all times.
Again, Buhari Condemns Attack In Kaduna
For the umpteenth time, the presidency has expressed deep sadness and regret over the latest bandits’ attack in Kaduna that killed several people and left many injured.
A statement from Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, on Monday gave this indication, saying from reports received, it was obvious that these bandits are unleashing their fury and frustration on innocent people because of the ongoing military and police offensive against them in the Birnin Gwari and Kaduru forests.
He said the administration would not be blackmailed by criminals to abandon the current military operations against them.
President Buhari assures the people of Kaduna State and other parts of the country that this government would continue to deploy all available resources to fight these cold-hearted bandits with a view to bringing them to their knees.
“These criminals should make no mistake that they can establish a reign of terror on the people without feeling the full might of the government which was elected to protect the citizens,” he stated.
The president, while expressing profound commiserations to the victims of this heinous attack in Kaduna State, sent a strong warning to the killers.
“The criminals cannot be lucky always; we are determined to frustrate and defeat them, and no matter how long they run or where they hide, they would be smoked out and brought to justice.”
Gangsters Kill Village Head, Another In Zamfara
Again, the Police Command in Zamfara has confirmed the killing of Malam Gambo Kujemi, the village Head of Kujemi in Dansadau District of Maru Local Government Area of the state by bandits.
A statement issued by spokesman of the command on Monday, SP Mohammed Shehu, also said the bandits also killed one other person.
Shehu said the village head, who was on a visit to Karauchi also in Dansadau, was killed when the bandits attacked the village.
He explained that they stormed the village in large numbers on motorcycles at about 8.40p.m. on Sunday and shot sporadically.
According to the spokesman, the village head and a resident of Karauchi, Mustapha Halilu, were killed during the shooting.
Shehu said, “On receipt of the information, combined team of policemen attached to Operation Puff Adder in conjunction with the military were dispatched to the area to forestall further attack on neighbouring villages as well as to arrest the perpetrators of the dastardly act.
“The command appeals for continued support and cooperation from members of the public by giving useful information on activities of criminal elements with a view to taking proactive measures.”
He, however, said that peace had been restored in the area, while combined security forces were on the trail of the attackers. Independent