Barely two days after killing three students of Greenfield University, have gunmen attacked Haske Baptist Church in Manini Tasha village, Kuriga Ward in Chikun local government area of Kaduna state.
Similarly, some gunmen also killed six people in Bagoma village, Birnin Gwari local government area, and a woman in Amfu village in Kachia local government area, both in the state.
In the church attack during a Sunday service, a medical doctor with the Kaduna state Ministry of Health, Dr. Zakariah Dogo Yaro was shot dead in the process, while four persons were kidnapped.
An eye witness who narrowly escaped the gunmen in the church, Mr. Yakubu Bala, said the heavily armed bandits surrounded the worshippers at exactly 9am.
He said the bandits, who came in large numbers, began shooting sporadically at the worshipers as they scampered for safety.
“Dr. Zakariah Dogo Yaro, a medical doctor with the Kaduna state Ministry of Health was shot dead and unspecified number of people kidnapped, while so many worshipers sustained varying degrees of injuries.
“As I’m talking to you now, we have not seen some of our villagers who ran into the bushes while the shooting was going on. We don’t know what is happening that we are facing this kind of scenario in our peaceful communities.
“Most villagers are already leaving their homes because of the constant attacks in so many villages in Chikun local government,” Yakubu lamented.
On its part, the police command in the state said apart from those killed and injured, the gunmen abducted four worshippers.
The command’s spokesperson, Mr. Mohammed Jalige, in a statement, described the attack as unfortunate.
“Preliminary investigation conducted so far revealed that, four persons are missing which arouse a suspicion that they might have been kidnapped by the hoodlums.
“Two others sustained gunshot wounds, namely; Dr. Zakariya Doga Yaro, a staff of Kaduna State Ministry of Health attached to the Primary Healthcare Center in Rimi village, Udawa, Chikun LGA and Shehu Haruna.
“Unfortunately, Dr. Zakariya Yaro died on the spot while Shehu Haruna is currently receiving medical treatment.
“Consequently, normalcy has since been restored; security has been beefed up in the area with a view to forestalling reoccurrence of the dastardly attack while concerted effort is ongoing to locate the missing persons.
“The Command is deeply saddened by this unprovoked attack on innocent citizens carrying out their legitimate daily routine and commiserate with the affected families,” Jalige stated.
Meanwhile, the state chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), has condemned the attack and called on government to act fast to prevent citizens from resorting to self-help.
A statement issued Sunday in Kaduna by its secretary, Mr. Caleb Ma’aji, said government must live up to its responsibility of securing the lives and property of all citizens.
“Our hearts are saddened over the sorry security situation in our dear state. It has grown so unfortunate and on a daily basis, insecurity continues to grow worse with no appreciable resistance given the unholy terrorists who have continued to hold our dear state and nation to ransom,” the statement said.
It said the attacks were a challenge to government to find ways of guaranteeing the security of lives and property of all citizens. Our heart goes to the local church at Manini, the Nigeria Baptist Convention and family members of the deceased.
“We are appealing to relevant agencies and praying for the safe release of the abducted members and indeed all others in captivity. We also enjoin all men and women of goodwill to wake up and do the needful before we are all consumed by the ongoing evil of banditry and kidnapping that has hijacked our country especially Kaduna state,” it added.
The attacks were confirmed in a statement Sunday in Kaduna by the state Commissioner for Security and Home Affairs, Mr. Samuel Aruwan.
Aruwan said: “The Kaduna state government has condemned in the strongest terms the attack by armed bandits on a place of worship on Sunday morning in Manini village, Chikun local government area.
“Security agencies reported to the government that armed bandits attacked congregants at Haske Baptist Church, Manini, about 9:30am, and killed a worshipper, Dr Zechariah Dogonyaro. According to the report, about four worshippers were abducted from the church. One resident, Shehu Mainika was injured in the general area by the bandits.
“In other reports received from security agencies, armed bandits invaded Bagoma village, Birnin Gwari LGA and killed six persons, listed as: Bala Gwamna, Kasage Ali, Mai Jakki, Makeri Kugu, Haruna Kawu, Ali Agaji. One person, Salisu Gwamna, older brother of the deceased Bala Gwamna, was injured in the attack.
“Also reported was an attack by armed bandits at Amfu village in Kachia LGA, in which one Mrs Rahila Dauda was shot dead.
“Finally, the partially burnt corpse of a seven-year-old, Abubakar Sarki Musa was found in an uncompleted building in Hayin Danmani area, Rigasa, Igabi LGA.
“One Saddique Umar, an 18-year-old resident of the area, confessed to killing him, after luring the boy into the deserted building in a bid to steal a phone placed in his possession.
“Governor Nasir el-Rufai roundly denounced the attack on the church in Chikun LGA as a shocking act of depraved persons far-removed from humanity. The Governor added that attacking innocent worshipers, who were exercising their natural and lawful right to assemble in worship, represented the worst kind of evil.
“The governor sent heartfelt condolences to the families of the deceased and to the Haske Baptist Church. The Governor prayed for the repose of the souls of the slain in all the attacks. He also wished the injured victim a speedy recovery.”
Medical workers threaten
Meanwhile, health workers in Kaduna state have given Governor Nasir el-Rufai till Friday to ensure release of the two nurses abducted at Idon Hospital and secure healthcare facilities in the state or they would embark on strike.
The two nurses were kidnapped by gunmen Thursday night while on night duty at Idon General Hospital, and their fate still remains unknown as at the time of this report.
Arising from this therefore, the Kaduna Health Professionals Forum comprising doctors, pharmacists, nurses, midwives and laboratory scientists in the state, decried the seeming nonchalant attitude of the state to the development.
Rising from its extraordinary emergency meeting at the weekend, the Forum in a communiqué also lamented the poor security at healthcare facilities in the state and demanded for armed security.
The communiqué was jointly signed by the state chapter of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), Dr Aliyu Sokomba, president, Association of Resident Doctors (ARD), Dr Umar Musa, representative of Medical and Health Workers Union (MHWUN), Mr. Abdullahi Muhammad, and Secretary National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives, Comrade Christiana Bawa.
The forum “observed with great sadness the state of insecurity in the state, this follows the abduction of two health workers at Rural Hospital Idon, Kajuru LGA of Kaduna state on Thursday, 22nd April, 2021. It is very unfortunate that the life saver’s life is not safe in Kaduna state.
“Hospitals/clinics in the state are not well secured, being that they are manned by poorly motivated and under trained private security personnel who have not been paid for over a year, they are insufficient and not equipped to handle the situation of insecurity.”
“We call on the state government to immediately deploy armed security personnel in all our facilities and other possible targets to ensure that healthcare workers are adequately protected in order to provide the continuum of healthcare services to residents of the state as and when needed.
“We equally call on the state government and relevant security agencies to do all in her powers to ensure that our abducted colleagues return to their families safe to boost the confidence of the demoralized health care workers in the state.
“Government should gather the best technical support and mobilize the necessary resources for effective and timely implementation of measures that protect the health care workers, the patients and their caregivers. Security is everybody’s responsibility, so every health worker needs to be extra cautious, however, the government should take responsibility to safeguard the health care workers.
“If the above resolutions 1 and 2 (rescue of abducted nurses and deployment of armed security in health facilities) are not met within five working days, we will be left with no choice but to down tool. As health workers we must apply the principle of ‘injury to one is injury to all’ and the government must note with all sense of responsibility that SECURITY FOR ALL HEALTH WORKERS is SACROSANCT,” they added.
While lamenting what it called the shocking retrenchment and conversion of health workers to casuals by the state government, they “seek immediate restoration of the retrenched health workers in the state.”
Also, Boko Haram insurgents have attacked Mainok, a town about 60km from Maiduguri along Maiduguri-Damaturu road.
Mainok is the headquarters of the Kaga local government area of the state.
Blueprint gathered that the insurgents set houses ablaze and broke into shops in the community.
This is coming after an attack on Geidam town that left many insurgents dead recently.
Buni on special military intervention
And from Yobe state, Governor Mai Mala Buni has sought for special military intervention to safeguard Geidam and other communities bordering Borno state to the north.
Buni, who commiserated with the people of Geidam over the recent Boko Haram attack on the town, said efforts were being intensified to curb the incessant attacks.
The governor had since Sunday been liaising with security authority to find a lasting solution to the resurgence of attacks on the community.
He assured to work closely and to support the security agencies to find a new approach to safeguard the lives and property of the citizenry.
Buni urged people of the state to use the Holy month of Ramadan to continue to pray for Allah’s Mercy for the state and country to have a lasting peace.
Similarly, in what appears a reprisal, gunmen Saturday night massacred no fewer than eight security men, comprising personnel of the Nigeria Air Force(NAF), Police and Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) in Rivers state.
A joint security team Saturday attacked the headquarters of the militant wing of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), killing seven people, including the leader, Ikonso Commander.
Four security men, including an army second lieutenant also paid the ultimate price in the shootout
And in a ‘reprisal,’ the gunmen killed the security men at checkpoints on Omagwa-Elele road, linking Port Harcourt, with Owerri, the Imo state capital.
It was gathered that the three Customs officers were killed at a checkpoint at Isiokpo in the headquarters Isiokpo local government area and their operational vehicles and rifles stolen.
The three NAF personnel and two policemen were also killed at the Joint Task Force checkpoint at Omagwa in Ikwerre local government area of the state.
Some of the victims were beheaded even as attempt to burn down the Isiokpo Divisional Police Station were repelled by the officers on duty.
35 abducted in Niger communities
In another development, a group of bandits has kidnapped 35 people and injured some others during an attack on Chiri, Gini and Fuka communities in Shiroro and Munya local government areas of Niger state.
This attack came barely 48 hours after Deputy Governor Ahmed Ketso visited the IDPs camp in Gwada in Shiroro local government area and lamented security issues in the state were overwhelming.
Blueprint learnt the bandits invaded the communities on motorcycles Saturday evening, shooting sporadically and causing villagers to flee into the forest for safety.
Chairman Niger Concerned Citizens Alhaji Muhammad Awaisu Wana stated this while speaking in a radio programme monitored by Blueprint in Minna.
He lamented that 10 out of 15 wards in Shiroro local government area were under the bandits’ control.
The council boss said Gwada, Kuta and Sarkin Pawa in Shiroro and Munya LGAs have become headquarters for persons displaced by bandits.
He further explained eight of the wards under bandits control were in riverine areas, adding there were about 80,000 IDPs in the state.
The youth leader appealed to the federal government to come to their aid to enable them return home and start preparing for this year’s farming season.