gunmen

Burn 20 houses; eight injured

As Naval chief laments arms proliferation

..Says Chadian soldiers sell arms for $20, $30 when broke

By Ibrahim Wuyo

Bandits on Sunday night, attacked Madamai and Abun communities in Kaura Local Government Area  of Kaduna State, killing 34 residents.

Eight persons also sustained injuries while about 20 houses were reportedly burnt by the bandits.

The killings came as the Chief of Naval Staff, Awwal Gambo, yesterday said proliferation of arms in the country was making the fight against insurgency, bandity, kidnapping and other violent crimes difficult.

According to him, the fight against arms proliferation is compounded by the fact that some neighbouring countries do not have armouries.

A priest in the Catholic Diocese of Kafanchan, Michael Magaji, who yesterday confirmed the killings said the affected communities were about five kilometres away from Kafanchan.

Disclosing that the  bandits shot sporadically in the air during the attack, the priest said most of the victims were women and children.

He said:  “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 state Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, who also confirmed the attack in a statement, said security agencies had reported the attack to the state government.

He said:  “The troops mobilized to the location and also came under fire, before forcing the assailants to withdraw after an intense exchange.

“As of the time of this update, 34 residents have been confirmed dead, following the attack. Eight others sustained injuries, and were rushed to a hospital in Plateau State.

“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 commissioner added that the governor described the attack as an “unspeakable display of wickedness,” adding that  two suspects were being questioned in connection with the attack.

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He said Kaduna State government would  bear the full cost of injured victims’ treatment.

The senator representing Southern Kaduna district, Danjuma La’ah, in his reaction to the attack, appealed to residents of the area to remain calm and avoid taking the law into their hands.

He called on the authorities to beef up security in the area to avoid further attacks and destruction of lives and property.

Naval chief’s worry

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Navy  has said some neighbouring countries do not have armouries, explaining that this had made it difficult for Nigeria to fight arms proliferation.

The Chief of Naval Staff, Awwal Gambo, who disclosed this at a public hearing organised by the House of Representatives Committee on National Security and Intelligence on the consideration of four security bills yesterday, canvassed establishment of a nation commission against arms proliferation and light weapons.

Gambo, who was represented by Commodore Jemila Sadiq Aqbubakar, said the weapons donated by developed countries to neighbouring nations were “compounding” Nigeria’s security challenges.

He said the lack of armouries in some of the neighbouring countries made arms available to their security operatives who in turn sold them off when they were “broke.”

The Naval chief said:  “Section 9 (1) suggests an additional function of proposing seized weapons and arms be used by security agencies; I think we can look at the provisions of the international convention on the issue of how the arms should be used when seized.

“Other sections have been addressed by our colleagues, so I’m sure their presentations have been submitted.

“I want to contribute to the coming seminar on the operation of arms to be organised by the House of Representatives.

“I was in charge as a member of the fight against Boko Haram and I can tell you categorically here, I stand to be corrected, that some of these countries that we have borders with have no armoury.

“They do not have armoury, so most of their arms that are being donated by — I don’t want to be specific — the developed countries in the name of assisting us are compounding our problems in Nigeria because you find that the average Chadian soldier has 20 to 30 arms underneath his bed.

‘’When he is broke, he brings it out and sells it for $30, $20. I am here, I am standing here, and I am saying it.

“Since we are going to collaborate with ECOWAS and other countries that are donating such arms to these countries, I think we should insist that they should either enact laws to govern the handling of these arms and ammunition or build an armoury for these countries or else we will not see peace.”

In his remarks, speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, said “knowledge would be drawn from everywhere,” because security remained an important national issue.

“The security agencies are welcome to make submissions but everyone is welcome to submit as well. I say so because I want to underscore the fact that security is about everyone and we are all stakeholders,” he said.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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