Marauding bandits have killed at least 24 people, including the village head and three other traditional title holders, in an early Sunday morning attack in Ganar Kiyawa, a village in Bukkuyum Local Government Area of Zamfara State.
Bandits from the Gando forest in Bukkuyum and Anka local government areas have been attacking residents since January. Some attacks on several villages in the two areas early this year that left 200 people dead.
In February, the terrorists collected N12 million from residents of Gana and Nasarawa Burkullu before they released 26 people abducted earlier. The ransom was taken to the bandits in Gando forest, residents said.
Ganar Kiyawa attack
Abubakar Gero, a youth leader in Bukkuyum Local Government Area, said the attack was long feared as residents of the community, especially the men, had been sleeping in the bush and other safer communities in horror of the bandits.
“Yes, 24 people were killed by the bandits in yesterday’s attack. The village head and some other traditional rulers as well as residents were killed. They (bandits) have been trying to attack the community but because their main targets were not always sleeping in the town, they decided to come in the morning,” he said.
Abdullahi Musa, a resident of Gana, not far from Ganar Kiyawa community, told PREMIUM TIMES that the bandits started shooting sporadically the moment they entered the village.
“Most of those who slept out of the community as usual were returning home when the bandits entered from the western route. They started shooting sporadically before they went on a house to house search for domestic animals and other valuables. All the shops were looted by the bandits while the residents ran for their lives,” he said.
Mr Musa said there were more than 20 people in his village seeking refuge as of Sunday evening.
“We cannot say how many people were kidnapped so far but those who have been killed, the residents were able to gather 23 corpses for burial. Another corpse was also found after the initial 23. It could be more especially now that the residents are afraid to go deep into the bushes to look for their dead,” he said
Repeated calls and SMS sent to Mohammed Shehu, the Zamfara police command spokesperson, went unanswered.
Bandits have been attacking rural communities, kidnapping people for ransom and rustling cattle for many years in the North-western part of Nigeria.
Banditry is the code name in the region for organised crimes like kidnapping, cattle rustling, mass abduction, arson and even armed robbery.
What started as farmers-herders clashes snowballed into cattle rustling before access to small arms emboldened the criminals to start raiding villages. Factors like mass poverty, illiteracy and a porous border with Niger Republic have complicated security issues for both the government and the people.
Zamfara, Katsina, Sokoto, Kaduna, Niger and Kebbi are the worst-hit states in the attacks.
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