Residents of Bakura Local Government of Zamfara State said no fewer than 56 people were killed on Friday afternoon when bandits attacked three villages in the area.
A former councilor, who asked not to be named, told our reporter that the gunmen attacked Sabon Garin Damri, of the villages, around 2:30 p.m.
“I was in the main town when the bandits entered Sabon Garin Damri. We suddenly saw people running towards us. Then we started hearing sporadic gunshots. I was miraculously saved,” he said.
He said the bandits carried out what appears to be coordinated attacks from Sabon Garin Damri, Damri and Kalahe before a joint security team confronted them.
Another resident, Mu’azu Damri, said the number of casualties would have been more if the security agents didn’t confront the bandits.
“I’ll have to personally applaud them (security agents), though I believe they should have come earlier because if they came at the right time, they would have saved a lot of people. But their arrival helped because the number would have been more than that,” he said
Mr Damri also said the bandits were pursued by the team of soldiers and police personnel, forcing them to abandon the livestock, food items, and other things they had looted from residents.
Though Mr Damri said the number of those killed was 48, other sources, including the former councilor told PREMIUM TIMES that the number of those killed as at Saturday afternoon stood at 56.
“We counted 56 people,” the councillor said. “In Damri, only three people were killed; a girl and two other men but the remaining were all killed in Sabon Garin Damri and Kalahe. Some of them were not residents of the two communities. They were people who came from nearby villages to celebrate Eid El Fitr with their relatives” he said.
Another resident of Bakura Town, Usman Lauwali, also told PREMIUM TIMES that 56 people were confirmed dead by residents of the three communities.
He said those who were wounded were receiving treatment at the General Hospital, Bakura.
Though the Police Command spokesperson in Zamfara, Mohammed Shehu, didn’t respond to calls and SMS sent to him on the attacks, an officer at the command, who asked not to be named because he has not been authorised to speak with journalists told PREMIUM TIMES that they were aware of the situation.
“We’re aware but you can wait for an official statement. I know that a strong reinforcement has been sent to Bakura and Talata Mafara axis this morning. The CP may even visit the communities later,” he said.
Zamfara, like in other areas in Nigeria’s North-west region, is convulsing under the attacks by gunmen locally called bandits who attack mostly rural communities and travellers.
These bandits have been blamed for killing thousands of people. They have also abducted many more in what is shaping to become one of the worst kidnap-for-ransom syndicates in the country’s history.
In the face of the failure of the government to protect residents of the area, many communities have set up vigilante groups to protect residents from attacks by bandits but this has worsened the security challenges in the area as it has given rise to an explosion of tit-for-tat killings between the bandits (who are mostly of Fulani extraction) and the vigilante groups set up by the majority Hausa communities in the area.
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