…Six killed, palaces of traditional rulers, houses razed in Kogi community
…Seven killed in Zamfara community, livestock rustled
…Eight abducted in Ekiti, N50m ransom demanded
By Boluwaji Obahopo & Rotimi Ojomoyela
Gunmen have killed no fewer than 13 persons, razed houses, rustled cattle in Kogi and Zamfara states since Monday, abducting eight in Ekiti and demanding N50 million ransom to free their captives.
While six were killed and houses razed in Kogi, life was snuffed out of seven in Zamfara State where livestock was also rustled.
In Ekiti State, the gunmen kidnapped at least six persons and demanded a ransom of N50 million to effect their release.
Vanguard gathered that the six persons were killed in a coordinated attack on Bagana community in Omala Local Government Area of Kogi State. Houses were also burnt.
The latest attack came barely a month after nine persons were killed in the area, while property worth millions of naira were destroyed, as hundreds of inhabitants fled to seek refuge in neighbouring communities.
The gunmen were said to have gone, first to the palace of one of the traditional rulers of the community, the Otutubatu of Bagana, Chief Salifu Anyebe, whose stool was graded third class just a week ago.
They reportedly set the palace ablaze and in the process, shot dead three persons, including one Madam Achebe Alih, popularly known as Mama Teacher.
It was learned that the attack was linked to a tussle for the stool of the community, as those opposed to the recent grading had planned to attack the traditional ruler during a proposed ceremony of the third class title.
However, information of the attack was said to have been leaked to him, forcing the abrupt suspension of the ceremony.
But the attackers were said to have gone ahead to launch the attack, burnt the palace, car and other valuable properties belonging to the traditional ruler, whose close families lived in cluster with him.
Vanguard gathered that immediately the attackers left, some other groups mobilized militias from nearby communities and burnt houses belonging to the suspected clans who they believed razed the Otutubatu’s palace.
The reprisal attacks, which continued the following day, led to the burning down of the palace of the Oga Onu Ife, another paramount ruler and the District Head of Bagana, Chief Alih Haruna, and other houses belonging to some notable inhabitants.
The house of the councillor representing the district, Alidu Usman Idakwo, and those of other tribes were not spared.
A local, who could not hold back tears over the wanton destruction of lives and property, lamented the nonchalant attitude of the government who he accused of only waiting to commiserate with people, rather than take decisive action against the perpetrators.
Special Adviser on Security to Omala LGA chairman, Steve Shaibu, who confirmed the death of six persons, said one other person was critically injured and had been evacuated to undisclosed health facility in a nearby village.
He gave the names of those killed as Suleiman Baba, Yusuf Lere, Mrs Achebe Alih, Abubakar Salifu, Danlami Yahaya, while Ugbede Attah is on admission.
Another Indigene of the community, Alhaji Umar Bagana, lamented the recurring orgy of violence, killings and destruction of properties since 2014 and blamed the development on the clanish jingoists contending for the soul of the community.
He called on Governor Yahaya Bello to enforce his directives to the different chiefs to relocate to their respective domain as a measure to stem the tide of violence being unleashed on the community.
Meanwhile, the Commissioner of Police, Idrisu Dabban, in company of the chairman of Omala LGA, Ibrahim Aboh, who visited the scene, called on the people to return home, promising that the police had commenced discreet investigation to bring the perpetrators to book.
7 killed, 1,500 cattle rustled in Zamfara
In Zamfara State, gunmen, suspected to be bandits, invaded Yanbuki Village in Zurmi Local Government Area yesterday, killing seven persons and carting away over 1,500 cows and sheep.
An indigene of the village, Garba Musa, who narrated his ordeal in Gusau town, said the bandits who were in large number, arrived in the village yesterday night and began shooting at everybody they saw in order to scare the people.
Musa said: “Immediately they arrived, they opened fire on anyone they could see, as such, everyone ran helter-skelter in order to escape.
“They later moved from house to house searching for food items and animals, and also broke many shops where they carted away with foodstuffs. They also rustled over 1,500 domestic animals like cows, sheep and goats.”
He maintained that when the bandits left the village, it was discovered that seven people were shot dead, while several others sustained serious injuries.
“We have conducted the burial of seven people and the number of casualties could be more than this because some people ran to the bush and are yet to be seen up to this moment,” he said.
Spokesperson of the state police command, SP Mohammed Shehu, who confirmed this to journalists said “the Commissioner of Police has already deployed enough police personnel to the area in order to restore peace.”
8 kidnapped in Ekiti, N50m ransom demanded
In Ekiti State, eight people were allegedly kidnapped on Tuesday at Itapaji Ekiti, in Ikole Local Government Area.
This is coming a week after four persons were kidnapped at Ayebode-Ekiti, in the same local government.
The kidnappers were said to have demanded N50 million ransom from the families of the victims yesterday.
According to an eyewitness, the gunmen had stormed a house located in the town around 9:30pm, shot intermittently into the air and made away with eight occupants of the building.
It was gathered that the terrible incident happened at the time the owner of the building was preparing for his mother’s burial.
According to the source, the seven gunmen came around 9:30pm, surrounded the building, shot into the air, and made the people in the community to scamper for safety.
“Occupants who were 14 were forcibly made to lie down, and were later taken away into the bush, but six of them escaped.
“One of the family members got a call from the abductors who demanded a ransom of N50m,”,the eyewitness said.
The source lamented how the lack of police stations in Itapaji -Ayebode and Irele-Oke Ako axes was responsible for increasing rate of kidnapping in the area, saying the nearest police station was in Ikole Ekiti, which was over 40 minutes drive to the troubled spot.
Police Public Relations Officer, Ekiti Command, Sunday Abutu, who confirmed the incident, said: “The command is working on that . Already, special police operatives as well as the JTF have been deployed in that axis to ensure they rescue the victims and for possible arrest of the culprits.”