The Police have confirmed the death of 29 persons including a policeman in a fresh attack in Kajuru Local Government Area of Kaduna State on Tuesday morning.
The police spoke hours after survivors of the attack told PREMIUM TIMES that over 30 bodies were interred after violence that occurred in Maro Karami Village.
The official figure was given by the Commissioner of Police in the state, Ahmad Abdur-Rahman, during a news briefing at his office.
The commissioner added that two policemen were injured in the attack while 40 houses were burnt.
“Today, in the early hours of the morning, my Divisional Police Officer in Kajuru local government got information that unknown gunmen entered Karmai village in Kajuru and started shooting.
“We immediately sent a detachment of mobile policemen to the area, who on entering Karmai and Maro villages also came under fire from the bandits,” he said.
According to him, the attackers went from hamlet to hamlet burning houses and killing people.
“I and the 1 Division Garrison Commander with the security components entered the village to assess the carnage that took place.
“We counted 40 houses burnt and a lot of people injured. At the time, we counted 27 persons dead, including a policeman; later we uncovered two more dead bodies, making it 29,” the police commissioner said.
Mr Abdur-Rahman disclosed that the deployment of more security personnel to the area had brought the situation under control.
“This kind of animalistic carnage must stop; the law enforcement agencies will never tolerate this nonsense again.
“Enough is enough, we are drawing battleline with any person who does not like peace to prevail in this our society.”
The police chief, however, said no arrest has been made, but assured that the perpetrators would be arrested and prosecuted.
Mr Abdur-Rahman advised residents of the area to embrace peace, and work towards building confidence and trust among themselves for lasting peace.
The latest crisis that broke out Tuesday morning follows a spate of attacks that took many lives barely two weeks ago.
Most houses in the entire Maro Karami village were burnt down by the perpetrators, survivors told this newspaper.
The state government in a statement said the mayhem spread to neighbouring Kachia Local Government.
On Tuesday evening, News Agency of Nigeria reported that the state governor, Nasir El-Rufai, was in a closed-door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Residents of the attacked communities are already counting their losses.
Irimiya Zango, a resident of Maro Karamai, said about 32 people died and were buried Tuesday evening after the attack on their village.
‘‘As at this evening, 32 corpses were already buried but I’m not sure about the number of the people that got injured.
‘‘People who ran into the bush for safety are yet to come back home so we are yet to know the exact number of the people who got injured’’.
Donatus Okoye, the parish priest of Idon Gida, the Catholic parish under which most villages around the axis fall, said the number has risen as burial was still ongoing.
Mr Okoye conducted the burial of 11 Adara people that were killed in the attack on Ungwar Barde on February 10 and 11 but he said another priest is doing the duty in this case.
“The burial is still going on now (as at 8.43p.m. on Tuesday) but I cannot say for certain the number. They are about thirty-something, tending towards 40. There were some in the house and they are trying to pick some (corpses) in the bush. It should be about 38 now.
“They said they would still search tomorrow morning. The military and police are still there till now. They said they would still be there till tomorrow and the next day.”
Mr Okoye giving an account of the incident said all the houses in the village have been burnt. He said there are still doubts about who the perpetrators were but he is convinced they are Fulani herders.
“Some people said its Fulani and others came and said its Boko Haram but if it is Boko Haram, how were they able to trace the village? It must have been someone (people) that knows about the village,” he said.
Mr Okoye said they are already compiling names of victims while some injured are taking medications at Maro Hospital.