Bandits kill 16 in fresh Zamfara attacks

Suspected bandits have killed 16 persons in fresh attacks on Kursasa and Kurya villages of Shinkafi local government area of Zamfara state.

A resident of Kursasa village identified as Usman Garba told Blueprint on phone that the bandits simultaneously besieged the two villages between 10pm and 11pm on Saturday and attacked the residents with dangerous weapons.

He said the attacks on Kursasa village led to the death of nine persons while two were injured.

Garba also said after the attack, the bandits moved to Kurya, a neighbouring village, and killed seven persons, mostly vigilante members.

“Luckily enough, the vigilance members of Kursasa and Kurya villages in a joint operation successfully killed one of the bandits during the encounter,” he said.

He appealed to relevant security agencies, particularly the Nigerian Army and Police, to come to their aid in the fight against the hoodlums terrorising their areas.

Efforts made by this reporter to get to the Public Relations Officer of the state Police command to speak on the incident proved abortive as all his lines were switched off at the time of filing in this report.

148 killed in Kaduna community

In a related development, the Adara community in Kajuru local government area of Kaduna state has stated that it “requires about N50 million to re-build 545 houses destroyed by gunmen following a series of attacks.”

The chairman of the community, Mumini Madugu, stated this while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Kaduna on Sunday.

Madugu said the community came under attacks few days after a statement from the Government House, Kaduna, on February 15, alleging that a number of Fulani people including women and children had been killed by the locals.

He said series of attacks launched between February 10 and March 11, left 148 people dead and 545 houses destroyed.

“The attackers in their hundreds first invaded Unguwan Barde, killed 35 people and destroyed 90 houses and proceeded to Karamai village on February   2, killed 42 people and destroyed 196 houses.

“On March 11, Dogon Noma community was also attacked, 71 people were killed, and 259 houses destroyed, making a total of 148 people killed and 545 houses destroyed.

“In all the attacks, 65 people were seriously injured and currently in hospitals receiving treatment, while about N28 million worth of grains and other foodstuff were also burnt.

“These attacks have displaced thousands of our people including 2,000 children who are currently taking shelter in eight camps across three LGAs of the state – Chikun, Kajuru and Kachia,” he said.

The chairman called on government at all levels and well-meaning Nigerians to come to their aid and help them rebuild their houses so they can return home.

He thanked government agencies, non-governmental organisations, community organisations and civil society organisations for supporting them with relief materials.

One of the elders, Usman Stingo, said the area had a history of peaceful coexistence with settlers, including the Hausa and Fulani people.

Stingo, a retired teacher particularly described the relationship between the Adara people and the Fulani as a symbiotic one dating far back to the days of their forefathers.

He, however, said the relationship began to deteriorate in 2017 over a relationship between a Hausa boy and an Adara girl which led to a communal clash resulting in loss of lives and property.

“Also, on October 18, 2018, another misunderstanding occurred at Kasuwan Magani and escalated into serious crises that claimed more than 100 lives.

“A day after that, the chief of Adara was kidnapped and murdered. And since then, Kajuru LGA and the Adara people have always been on the news but for the wrong reasons,” he said.

The elder blamed the series of attacks in the community on the government’s inability to perform its duty of protecting lives and property.

“Hardly will anyone convince us that local Fulani in Kajuru are responsible for these attacks because the accent of the attackers was completely different from that of the Fulani people who live with us.

“We do not believe that the Fulani that we lived with for ages can suddenly have a change of attitude and turned brutal. We are of the view that the attackers might have been hired mercenaries, but who hired them is a question we do not have answers to.”

Way forward

On how to restore the lost relationship, the elder stressed on the need for the Adara and Fulani elders to close ranks whenever something of this nature comes up and fish out the culprits.

“But leaving one group to go searching for who attacked only gives room for suspicions and mistrust which if not properly managed could escalate into a serious crisis with unimaginable consequences.

“The state government must also ensure justice and fairness to all and be a government for all by particularly improving security in the state and bringing the assailants to book.”

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