We must not allow bandits have free hand again — Buhari

By Johnbosco Agbakwuru

At least 55 persons have been reportedly killed in separate deadly attacks by bandits in two local government areas of Zamfara State, weekend. 

About 48 persons were reportedly killed in three communities of Sabon Gari Damri, Damri and Kalahe in Bakura Local Government Area of the state.

The Sole Administrator of Bakura council area, Aminu Suleiman, who confirmed the attack, weekend, said the bandits, in their large number and riding on motorcycles, launched an attack via Sabon Gari Damri village around 2 pm on Friday.

They reportedly killed nine persons and then proceeded to the Damri community where they killed four persons including a police officer and personnel of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC.

The outlaws also set ablaze a Hilux vehicle belonging to the police.

The bandits then killed eight persons in Kalahe community, a village between Sabon Gari Damri and Damri town

According to Suleiman, the bandits attacked a healthcare facility in Damri town and killed some patients.

According to the council boss, the military engaged the bandits in Damri community in a gun battle, which forced the bandits to retreat to Sabon Gari Damri and kill 26 persons.

“Military personnel entered the town and exchanged fire and forced the bandits to move back to Sabon Gari Damri, after killing nine persons at the village, they went back and killed about 21,” he said.

Suleiman confirmed that a total of 48 people were killed during the attacks.

In the fresh attack on Saturday afternoon, a local source in Maradun said two villages, Faru and Kauyen Minane, were attacked.

“I was at the Maradun General Hospital when the soldiers brought the corpses of those killed,” Jamilu Muhammad said. 

“Our people in the village of Garin Minane said the bandits stormed the town some minutes before 2 pm and began shooting sporadically. What they used to do was to conduct house to house searches for domestic animals or other valuables but yesterday, the moment they entered the village, they began shooting sporadically,” he said.

According to him, six persons were killed in Garin Minane while one was killed in Faru. He said the number of those killed may increase because many are still missing in the affected villages.

“They have buried the deceased in Maradun because going back to do the burial in the villages was impossible for fear that they (bandits) may return.”

He said the seven people killed were all male. Four of them were killed on the outskirts of the Garin Minane village while they were returning from the farm.

The police spokesperson in Zamfara State, Mohammed Shehu, did not respond to calls and SMS sent to him on the attacks.

We must not allow bandits have free hand again —Buhari

Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has told the armed forces to sustain their onslaught on bandits, especially in North-West and not to allow them to return to their dastardly act.

Buhari also commended the military for the incessant onslaught and for not showing any let up as they continue to achieve positive outcomes based on their current operational trajectory in the North-West and particularly Zamfara State, which has been a hotbed of criminal activity. 

The President in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, noted that while there appears to be relatively calm in the state, with situations returning to normal in most parts and the rural communities ready to live their lives normally again, there had been several breaches, especially given the bandits’ attack on Damri, Sabongarin Damri and Kalahe villages in Bakura Local Government Area, and lately, Maradun, where several casualties were recorded. 

“We mustn’t allow the return of days when the bandits had a free hand to do as they wished. The rural folk in Zamfara and elsewhere must be allowed to have peace. Therefore, the momentum that has been developed must be sustained to bring closure to the activities of these murderers,” the President directed. 

He expressed condolences to the families of the victims as well as the government and people of the state, adding that the combined efforts of th federal and state governments must do all that can be done to bring an immediate end to the horrific killings.

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