A gunman is reported to have opened fire on a small crowd at Yangal village, 200km South of Kaduna metropolis Tuesday night.
The crowd had gathered to mourn the death of an 87-year old woman, Hauwa Bello.
Yangal is in Yangal District, under Kamanton chiefdom in Zangon Kataf Local Government Area of southern Kaduna.
The Acting Chairman of Zangong Kataf local government, Jonathan Asake, who spoke to journalists on Wednesday in his office in Zonkwa, said he got a distress call around 11pm Tuesday and was informed that an armed man and unarmed accomplice had attacked Yangal.
Mr. Asake said when he got to the scene of the shooting, he helped in evacuating five corpses and 12 injured persons to St. Luis Hospital, Zonkwa, about 15 km from Yangal village.
“I reached Yangal village around 12a.m. (Wednesday) and met scores of angry youths wielding sticks and knives who wanted to descend on me for coming late,” Mr. Asake said. “I was told that an old woman had passed on and was buried. That it was usual tradition for the grandchildren of the deceased to organise a small celebration to honour any person that had passed the age of 80. According to the villagers, two people were sighted around 9p.m. on Tuesday night around the venue of the celebration – one with a gun and the other had nothing on him.
“Not suspecting anything, the group went on with their cerebration. Then the armed man opened fire on the crowd with his AK 47 rifle. He killed five people on the spot and two later died in the hospital. I saw the corpses and the 12 others that were injured. We evacuated them to St. Luis Hospital. I left the hospital around 5a.m. this morning. Of those injured, 9 were critically hit, and we have taken them to a better equipped hospital in Jos, Plateau State.”
Mr. Asake said the two culprits had fled the scene by the time soldiers arrived the village. He added that a Fulani man in the village had also claimed that the fleeing suspects had rustled his cattle. “But, security report reaching me has not confirmed that,” Mr. Asake said.
“This is calculated either to frustrate the gubernatorial campaign of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, or it was a diversion to steal cows,” he added. “Governor Ramalan Yero is expected to arrive Zangon Kataf (on Thursday) to continue with his campaign tour, and we know how desperately the opposition is trying are to unseat our government.”
Meanwhile, the National President, Kamanton Development Association, KDA, Markus Fangan, told journalists that it was a planned incidence of violence that defied logic. According to him, Yangal village had never been in conflict with anyone.
Mr. Yero, through his spokesperson, Ahmed Maiyaki, condemned the attack. He said it was an apparent attempt by miscreants to cause confusion in the state and heighten tension among the people.
“It is rather sad that some people will stop at nothing in achieving their selfish goals including shedding the blood of innocent citizens of the state,” Mr. Yero said.
The governor directed the State Emergency Management Agency to immediately move to the affected community to provide victims of the attack with the necessary support and assistance.
He also called on people of the affected community to remain calm as security agencies were already investigating the matter with the aim of bringing the perpetrators to book. Adequate security personnel have also been deployed to maintain law and order in the area.
Mr. Yero condoled with victims of the attack and prayed that God would forgive those that lost their lives in the attack and give their families the fortitude to bear the loss. The governor has also directed payment of hospital bills of those injured in the attack.
He prayed God to expose those behind the heinous act, whom he called “enemies of the state.”