Zamfara villagers dump corpse at Govt. House in protest of killings

Zamfara Governor, Bello Matawalle
Zamfara Governor, Bello Matawalle [Photo: Punch Newspapers]

Over 100 villagers from Jirrawa community in Kaura-Namoda Local Government Area of Zamfara on Saturday besieged the Government House, Gusau, with the body of a community member they said was by “bandits”.

The spokespersons of the community, Muntari Abdullahi and Muhammadu Sani, told the News Agency of Nigeria that the assailants invaded the village around 10 a.m. and began to shoot in the air.

“We later realised that they have already killed Shafiu Inusa on his farm while he was trying to apply fertilizer on his plants after the rains of last night,” Mr Abdullahi narrated.

He said the deceased was just recovering from a gunshot wound inflicted on him during an earlier attack four months ago when the village was also attacked.

“It is exactly four months now when his (Shafiu) father was killed in a similar attack, because the wives of the old man are completing their four months stay at home as mandated by Islam.

“We gathered from his farm neighbour and brother that initially, one of the bandits appeared before them saying anyone who knows he is guilty should run and who is not should stay.

“Shafiu refused to run and when the others numbering over a hundred arrived, they opened fire and killed him instantly, this is his remains that we brought here for the governor to see and know that this peace initiative is not working for us,” he said.

Mr Sani said: “These criminals have always passed by our village without any threat or harassment until the last few months.

“So far, they have attacked us more than eight times and have killed many people.

“Even while on our way to Gusau today, we received phone call that they also killed one Bala Danrabi, a vigilante leader who has always fought the bandits,” he said.

According to NAN, the state Commissioner of Police, Usman Nagogo, “expressed shock” over the attack, but told NAN that such occurrences are expected during conflict resolution.

“I can confidently assure you that the peace initiative by Gov. Bello Matawalle which I lead in the state is working as can be seen in the release of kidnap victims and the repentance of several bandits, but that does not mean that the hardened criminals are no longer there, they are the ones that will perpetrate this now,” he said.

“I am in constant contact with bandits groups in all the bushes and our discussions have been positive leading to the peace we are now enjoying.

“On this Jirrawa issue, I have spoken with my contacts around the area and the repentant bandits promised to meet tomorrow and fish out the perpetrators of this latest attack and hand the culprits over to me; this is in the spirit of the partnership we are now enjoying,” he said.

The commissioner, however, said the police would not use force for now because of the ongoing peace initiative but that the command would await the outcome of the meeting to be held tomorrow by the repentant “bandits”.

Zamfara, Sokoto and Katsina States in Nigeria’s troubled North west have been gripped by violence in recent months, with hundreds killed in attacks locals initially linked to illegal mining and cattle theft.

The attacks have continued despite increased deployment of security to the area. The government, state and federal, merely refer to the attackers as “bandits” without saying exactly who they are. (NAN)

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