…As LG chair gathers corpses from villages
…Buhari tasks security chiefs to be decisive
By Kingsley Omonobi & Ibrahim Hassan
No fewer than 20 people were in the early hours of yesterday killed, while several others were injured in fresh attacks on three communities in Zangon Kataf Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
The fresh killings came barely days after security agencies were deployed to the vulnerable communities of the state to prevent residents from further attacks.
The attack was said to have been carried out by suspected militia men in such communities as Kurmin Masara, Apyia Shyim, and Takmawai, as torrential rain-pounded the communities.
Kaduna State Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Mohammed Jalinge, who confirmed the attack, described the incident as unfortunate.
He said: “21 persons were killed and three were injured. We have beefed up security there to prevent further occurrence. Investigations are ongoing to ascertain who the attackers were and to effect their arrest.’’
Chairman of Zango Kataf Local Government, Elias Manza, said the gunmen, suspected to be Fulani militia, invaded the three communities in the early hours of Thursday morning, and started shooting indiscriminately at peoples houses.
He explained that seven people were killed in Takmawai, while 13 others were killed in Kurmin Masara in what seemed like a coordinated attack.
A native, who craved anonymity, said the gunmen attacked the villages as rain continued all through the night.
READ ALSO: CUPP urges respect for protesters’ rights
He said: “They launched coordinated attacks on Apyia’Shyim, A’Piako, Atak’Mawei and Kibori villages all in Atyap Chiefdom of Zangon Kataf, which is among the local governments under 24-hour curfew since June 11.
“It rained all through the night in the area and the attackers had unchallenged operations from around 10 pm Wednesday till early morning yesterday.
“By the time they were done, 20 corpses were recovered at about 12 pm on Thursday, while the search is still on. They also burnt several houses.’’
The Secretary, Atyap Traditional Council, Mr Stephen Akut, who also confirmed the carnage, told journalists that the current casualty figures were sketchy and could rise further by the time those still missing were found.
He said many of the residents fled their communities to avoid the attacks, stressing that nobody knew what had befallen them.
‘’Security operatives have been mobilized to the affected communities,’’ Akut said.
The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, had directed the Commissioner of Police, Kaduna State Police Command, to deploy both human and material assets of the Intervention Squad currently on the ground in the state to safeguard the lives and property of people in the communities.
It will be recalled that Kaduna State government had imposed a 24-hour curfew in Zangon Kataf and Kauru local government areas on June 11, 2020.
The state governor, Nasir el-Rufai linked the attacks on the state, especially the southern part to banditry. A few days later, Governor el-Rufai met with traditional rulers to solicit their support to end the killings.
The governor stressed the need for all hands to be on deck towards bringing a lasting solution to the troubled area and other parts of the state.
He also challenged the traditional rulers to fish out criminal elements in their midst.
Buhari tasks security heads
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has challenged heads of security and defence services to be resolute in promoting national aspirations to end insecurity in the country.
President Buhari gave the charge in a message to the graduation ceremony of the National Defence College Course 28 held in the College premises in Abuja yesterday.
The President, who was represented by the Minister of Defence Maj. Gen Bashir Salihi Magashi, retd, stressed the need for the implementation of what he defined as Comprehensive Security Philosophies in tackling criminalities in the dark spots of insecurity in parts of the country.
President Buhari advocated a return to the long established principles of synergies among the Armed Forces, the Nigeria Police, Intelligence and Security Agencies to win the fight against the adversaries.
While assuring of the resolve of his administration to sustain the trajectory of Defence Reformation, Transformation, Reorganisation, Expansion and modernisation, the President said the National Defence College as the highest Nigerian Military training Institution, would be supported in the discharge of its mandate.
He blamed what he described as complex and amorphous national security challenges on interconnected world, where the issues of insecurity criss-cross international borders.
Buhari, who reaffirmed his unshaken faith in the nation and “Nigeria First” philosophy, tasked Nigerians to harness the national strength in diversities and bridge political divides to emplace political re-engineering based on equality and mutual trust.
The President, who clearly stated that his administration has consolidated peace in the Niger Delta, recovered vast territories overtaken by terrorists, commended the gallantry of the troops, assuring that their sacrifices shall not be in vain.
Highlights of the graduation ceremony for the one hundred and seven participants were presentation of certificates, conferment of fellowship on graduands, recognition of award winners and unveiling of the NDC Strategic Lens 4, by the Defence Minister, Maj Gen. Magashi (retd.) on behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari.