In a brazen new onslaught, bandits on Sunday slaughtered 34 people, including a family of 13, following attacks on Madamai and Abun communities in Kaura Local Government Area of Kaduna State. Eight persons sustained various degrees of injury, while the terrorists burnt down about 20 houses.
The attacks came roughly 24 hours after another set of terrorists suspected to be members of the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) attacked a joint military base, codenamed “Burkusuma camp”, in Sabon Birni Local Government Area of Sokoto State, reportedly, killing 15 soldiers, three Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) officers, and a police man.
There was, also, a reprisal attack in Kacecere village in Zangon Kataf Local Government Area of Kaduna State, which claimed another eight lives.
Confirming the development, the Kaduna State government said the reprisal attack was fuelled by the attack that claimed the lives of 34 people and the destruction of houses by the terrorists.
The Nigeria Army, yesterday, confirmed that ISWAP attacked its base in Sabon Birni, Sokoto State.
Rev. Father Michael Magaji of the Catholic Diocese of Kafanchan, in Kaduna State, who confirmed the invasion of the two communities late Sunday night by gunmen, told THISDAY by telephone that the communities were about five kilometres from Kafanchan town. Magaji said most of those killed were women and children. He said the gunmen shot sporadically as they arrived the villages, killing 32 people.
He stated, “I am in the hospital as I speak with you. We have brought 32 corpses for embalmment. We have eight people injured and they are receiving treatment. About 20 houses were burnt, 13 persons from the same family were killed. We intend to have a mass burial to call the attention of the world to what is happening to our people.”
The senator for Southern Kaduna, Danjuma La’ah, condemned the attack and lamented the persistent attacks in the area, which had led to the killing of hundreds of people.
La’ah appealed to the people of the area to remain calm and avoid taking the law into their hands. He also called on the authorities concerned to scale up security in the area to avoid further attacks and destruction of lives and property.
“If government refuses to take proactive measures to address the issue, the people will be left with no option than to embark on self-defence,” the senator said.
In a separate statement confirming the reprisal attack yesterday, Kaduna State Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, blamed the reprisal attack that led to the deaths of eight people on the killing of the 34 people in Madamai village, Kaura Local Government Area, and one Yakubu Danjuma in Kacecere village in Zangon Kataf Local Government Area.
Aruwan stated, “The Kaduna State government has received reports from security agencies of an attack by unidentified persons in Kacecere village, Zangon Kataf LGA, which has resulted in the deaths of some citizens.
“According to the reports, this attack was in reprisal to earlier attacks in Jankasa village, Zangon Kataf LGA, where one Mr. Yakubu Danjuma was killed, and also in Madamai in Kaura LGA where 34 persons were killed.”
He said security agencies reported that the attacks in the two locations “led to the reprisal by unidentified assailants on Kacecere community, which has left eight dead, six persons injured and several houses razed.
“According to the reports, unidentified gunmen attacked Madamai village in Kaura local government. The troops mobilised to the location and also came under fire before forcing the assailants to withdraw after an intense exchange (of fire.
“Some houses were set ablaze by the attackers at one end of the village. The troops put out the fire at three of the burning houses, and rescued six locals from the infernos. As of the time of this update, 34 residents have been confirmed dead following the attack.”
Aruwan said Governor Nasir El-Rufai had expressed deep sadness at the reports and offered his condolences to the families of the deceased.
The commissioner said, “The governor appealed for recourse to the law and urged communities to eschew reprisals and similar violent actions. He also tasked security agencies to conduct thorough investigations into the incident. As of the time of this update, troops and police personnel are working in the locations and the public will be briefed after official reports are received.”
The statement also said two suspects had been arrested in connection with the killings.
“Governor El-Rufai has stated that the Kaduna State Government will bear the full cost of injured victims’ treatment,” Aruwan stated.
He said the governor had also been briefed by security agencies on the roles played by the Chief of Kagoro, His Royal Highness, Chief Ufuwai Bonet, and the lawmaker representing Kaura Federal Constituency, Hon. Gideon Gwani, in dousing tension and preventing a breakdown of law and order following the unfortunate incident.
According to the statement, “The governor commended their efforts and sterling leadership. The governor ordered an urgent assessment of the area by the Kaduna State Emergency Management Agency, towards the provision of succour to the affected households.
“The governor received the reports with intense grief, and expressed his condemnation of the gruesome attack, which he described as an unspeakable display of wickedness, meriting the severest form of punishment.
“He further tasked security agencies to ensure urgent and precise investigations into the horrific incident.”
The statement added that “two suspects are being questioned in connection with the attack” and security agencies were conducting operations in the general area, promising, “The government will update citizens accordingly.”
On the attack on the Sokoto military base at the weekend, villagers and security sources told THISDAY that the assault happened in the early hours of Friday.
The terrorists, THISDAY gathered, came in large numbers and started shooting at the camp from different angles.
A military source, which was not authorised to speak on the matter, said a large number of suspected bandits were killed when a military base was attacked in the Eastern Senatorial District of Sokoto.
The source did not confirm if the military camp was the same as the Burkusuma camp in Sabo Birni local government.
A former chairman of Sabon Birni Local Government Area, Idris Muhammad Gobir, known as Danchadi, also confirmed to newsmen that the Burkusuma camp was attacked and several security operatives in the camp were still missing.
Gobir said the marauding terrorists burnt down two patrol vehicles and carted away another one, which was used to convey food items stolen from the villagers.
The former chairman said the report of the attack was confirmed to them by a resident of Burkusuma, who used a mobile telecommunications service from Niger Republic.
A prominent traditional ruler in the area also confirmed that some vehicles were sent to evacuate corpses of those killed. He said over 10 trucks conveying armed military personnel were at the moment in the forest trailing the bandits.
An NSCDC personnel, who also pleaded anonymity, confirmed that three of their members were among the casualties.
The gunmen also reportedly attacked Katsira village and shot four persons. Two of the victims were said to have died instantly while the other two were taken to an undisclosed hospital.
The gunmen were said to have abducted three persons from the village.
The spokesman of the 8 Division of the Nigerian Army, Major Yahaya Ngulde, could not be reached for comments on the developments.
Similarly, Police Public Relation Officer, ASP Sanusi Abubakar, said he was not aware of the attack.
But the military, while confirming the story in a press release by Director, Defence Information, Maj Gen Benjamin Olufemi Sawyer, said Operation Hadarin Daji troops successfully repelled the attack. Sawyer said in the process, scores of insurgents were eliminated while others fled with bullet wounds to Niger Republic. He disclosed that the attack took place at Burkusuma in Sabon Birni Local Government Area of Sokoto State.
Sawyer further disclosed that aggressive operations of troops of the FOB, as witnessed in recent months in the North-west, had been a thorn in the flesh of ISWAP and bandits. He said the attackers came in large numbers using telecom network provided from neighbouring country, and capitalised on the lean rear area protection force, when the main troops were out conducting offensive operations within their area of responsibility.
Sawyer, however, stated that the swift reinforcement by troops helped to counter the attack, as many of the ISWAP fighters were eliminated while some scrambled with various degrees of injury, resulting in their pursuit to Bassira in Niger Republic.
Unfortunately, he said, there was some level of casualty recorded on the part of the troops during the encounter but refused to give figures.
The Nigerian and Nigerien forces, in a collaborative operation, Sawyer hinted, had begun to trail the remaining ISWAP fighters, while the general security within the FOB and its environs had been stabilised.
A medical personnel said on condition of anonymity that they brought 15 corpses of soldiers to specialist hospitals Sokoto yesterday.
The Sokoto State Government condemned the attack on military base in the state. Commissioner for Security and Career Studies, Col. Garba Moyi, said the attack was barbaric and unwarranted
Moyi stated that the attack would not deter security agencies in the bid to safeguard the country from insurgents.
Moyi noted that the government and the people of Sokoto State sympathised with Nigerian Army and other agencies that suffered casualties in the incident. He reiterated the state government’s commitment to supporting the security agencies in their determination to win the war against the insurgents.