Fifty-seven people have been killed in Sokoto State in two days as bandits went on a rampage, Daily Trust reports.
The death toll from Sunday and Monday’s attacks in Goronyo Local Government Area of the state increased to 43 from 15, while 14 others were killed Tuesday in attacks across communities in Sabon Birni LGA of the state.
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The latest attack during which 14 people were killed took place a few hours after President Muhammadu Buhari directed the deployment of more military hardware to the state to tackle insecurity.
A resident of Sabon Birni, who confirmed the attacks, said bandits invaded some villages in Unguwan Lalle District at night on Tuesday.
According to him, they killed one Abdullahi Usman at Unguwan Lalle, nine at Tsangerawa village and four at Tamindawa.
“They also opened fire on a commercial vehicle at Gajid village, resulting in the deaths of three persons, including the driver,” he said.
Five other passengers, who sustained gunshot injuries, were currently receiving treatment in a hospital, the source said.
The bandits were also said to have abducted three persons in the village.
The victims were later released after an agreement that the locals would pay the N2 million levy within a few days.
However, the state Commissioner of Police, Mr Kamaluddeen Okunlola, said eight persons were killed by the attackers.
In an interview with Daily Trust, the commissioner said, “They attacked some remote villages that are not accessible due to bad road. But by the grace of God, we are going to get them. We are going after them.”
Our correspondent recalled that during a raid starting from Sunday night into the early hours of Monday morning, 13 people were killed in Illela, a town bordering the Niger Republic and two were killed in Goronyo, 76 km east of Sokoto.
But the figure increased to 43 yesterday when Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal was briefed during a condolence visit to Illela.
Governor Tambuwal had earlier described the attackers as “Bandits graduating into terrorists”, while President Buhari condemned the attack and said the military was deploying advanced technology to track down attackers.
In a statement on Wednesday signed by the media aide of the governor, Muhammad Bello, Tambuwal during the visit to Illela town described the attacks as “upsetting”.
He said, “This is not a small occurrence…This incident really touched us.”
He, however, commended the local government authorities, monarchs and community leaders for lawfully organising a volunteer group working in tandem with the security operatives in the area.
He appealed to them not to be daunted by the recent attack. “Instead, it should motivate you all to redouble your efforts, without seeking revenge, in securing your communities,” he said. The governor assured them of sustained government assistance “whenever required”, while praying for the repose of the souls of the deceased.
Recall that the federal government had directed telecommunications blackout in parts of Sokoto, Zamfara, Katsina and Kaduna States, to turn the tide against bandits ravaging the North West.
But some experts are calling for a change of strategy because criminals were perpetrating more criminal activities including kidnapping for ransom and raping of women and children at a time locals were finding it difficult to call for support.
In October, gunmen killed at least 43 people in an attack in Goronyo as Sokoto of recent overtaken its neighbours in the frequency of reported attacks.
Tambuwal had recently observed that the military operatives in nearby Zamfara ought to have been holistic in their approach to tackling insecurity in the region, saying some of the bandits were relocating to his state.
Armed robbers kill civil defence driver
Meanwhile, the Sokoto State Command of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) has confirmed the killing of one of its drivers, who was part of a rescue mission in the Runjin Sambo area.
The spokesman for the command, Hamza Adamu Illela, said the officer (name withheld) was not killed by bandits.
Daily Trust reports that the criminals had on Monday invaded Runjin Sambo, which is not far from the state capital and wreaked havoc.
“We received a distress call that some miscreants were attacking one residence in the area and our men quickly responded to the call and in the process, our driver was gunned down,” he said.
It was learnt that the civil defence officials were rushing to confront the attackers when they were ambushed.
“The robbers killed the driver after firing at him three times and he lost control of the vehicle which crashed,” a source said.
1 killed, 30 kidnapped in fresh attack in Niger
Also, one person was killed on Wednesday while 30 others were kidnapped when armed bandits invaded the Zazzaga community of Munya Local Government Area of Niger State.
The Commissioner of Police in the state, Monday Bala Kuryas, who confirmed the attack to Daily Trust in his office, said the attack took place around 2 am.
“Police are already on the trail of the attackers to rescue the kidnapped victims unhurt,” the commissioner said.
However, Secretary of Munya LGA, James Jagaba, told our correspondent on the telephone that 68 persons were kidnapped including women and children, while one person was killed with three others injured.
“They came in large numbers when the victims were sleeping and took control of the community,” he said.
Another source from the community who spoke in confidence via telephone said the armed bandits operated from one house to another.
“A hunter was shot dead during a gun duel with the criminals. We don’t know the whereabouts of the kidnapped persons. But security personnel comprising the police, military and vigilantes have been deployed to the community,” he said.
‘Cameroonian rebels kill monarch, others in Taraba’
Senate Deputy Minority Leader, Emmanuel Bwacha, Wednesday confirmed the killing of a village head and some residents in the Manga community in Takum Local Government Area of Taraba State by Ambazonia separatists from Southern Cameroon.
Manga village is 20 kilometres away from Kashimbilla Dam.
The lawmaker, coming under a point of order during Senate plenary, said the residents were killed during an invasion of the community by the Cameroonian separatists who also razed down the village.
Bwacha, who represents Taraba South in the Senate, said the separatists’ invasion threatened Nigeria’s territorial sovereignty as their motive was yet unknown.
He, therefore, called on the military to immediately swing into action to prevent the eventual occupation of the Manga community by the separatists.
He said: “I rise this morning to draw the attention of our countrymen and particularly our security agencies to this unfortunate incident, which undermines our integrity and sovereignty as a nation.
“Takum Local Government houses the 23 Battalion of the Nigerian Army and so Mr President, it is my humble submission that the Nigerian Army should rise to the challenge and curb this wanton territorial expansion.
“Their (separatists’) motive is yet unknown, whether they want to expand territory or lay claim for Southwest Cameroon is not yet clear.
“As I speak, many individuals have gone missing and their whereabouts are yet unknown; the village was also razed down,” he said. The Senate, thereafter, held a minute silence to honour those killed by the Ambazonia separatists.
When contacted yesterday, spokesman for the Nigerian Army, Brig.-Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu told one of our correspondents that he had not been briefed. He promised to get back to Daily Trust whenever he received any information regarding the development.
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