lKaduna confirms attack, debunks reports of aerial attack by terrorists
lSays NAF helicopter arrived to engage bandits
lBurn shops, food barns in Katsina
By Ibrahim Hassan
Bandits have again killed no fewer than 32 persons in four communities in Kajuru Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
They also kidnapped at least 80 locals who fled from Kwari village in Jibiya Local Government Area of Katsina State and set their food barns and shops on fire.
Vanguard gathered that the Kaduna killings, executed on Sunday, took place at Ungwan Gamu, Dogon Noma, Ungwan Sarki and Maikori in Southern part of the state.
Although an eyewitness said the bandits opened fire on the people from a helicopter, Kaduna State government dismissed this, saying it wasn’t true.
Confirming the attack, District Head of Kufena, Titus Dauda, said the bandits attacked the communities on Sunday, killing 32 people, adding that a church and many houses were burnt in the attack.
He said: “The bandits first attacked Dogon Noma in the early hours of Sunday and killed many people, mostly men, before proceeding to Ungwan Gamu and Maikori villages where they also killed people and burnt down houses.
“The victims have been laid to rest, while the affected communities have been deserted by the residents due to fear of being attacked again.”
However, some locals claimed a helicopter was seen shooting at the residents from the air, while the remaining bandits were on ground to attack any fleeing residents.
They, however, noted that the bandits were countered by security agents both on ground and from the air, forcing the bandits to beat a retreat.
The police were yet to react on the incident.
Kaduna confirms attack, debunks reports of aerial attack by terrorists
Reacting to the killings yesterday, Kaduna State government said the story that a helicopter provided air support to the bandits against the locals was an untrue account but confirmed that 32 persons were killed in the attack.
Samuel Aruwan, Commissioner, Ministry of Internal Security and Home Affairs in Kaduna State, said while the government mourned the gruesome killing and burning of houses in the attacked locations, a report suggesting that the victims of the attack were killed by terrorists using a helicopter was not true.
Aruwan said: “Kaduna State government wishes to make a clarification based on reports received since Sunday. The bandits attacked the first two locations and killed 31 citizens. They then headed into Ungwan Maikori, where they killed one person and burnt some houses.
“An Air Force helicopter dispatched to the area, had earlier scanned the first two locations and sighted burnt houses and properties on fire.
“The helicopter intercepted the bandits at the last location (Ungwan Maikori) and engaged them as they retreated, before the arrival of ground troops to the general area.
“It was the arrival of the air asset which deterred the bandits from further attacks on the citizens in the village, after the bandits had already killed one local and burnt several houses.
“The story that a helicopter provided air support to the bandits against the locals is, therefore, an untrue account.
‘’The government of Kaduna State, having gone through all the facts, finds it regrettable that a section of the media would circulate an unverified report, insensitive to its implications on national security, law and order.
Bandits kidnap over 80 locals in Katsina village, burn shops, food barns
Meanwhile, bandits also kidnapped no fewer than 80 locals at Kwari village in Jibiya Local Government Area of Katsina State and set their houses and shops on fire.
Those kidnapped were among the over 2000 fleeing villagers now taking refuge at a primary school in Jibiya town.
It was learned that those kidnapped and taken away to the forest were children, women, including pregnant ones and others.
The locals said their lives were not safe in the primary school they were currently holing up, alleging that government had not assured them of their safety there.
The school serves as an Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, camp.
Speaking in an interview with the BBC Hausa Service monitored yesterday, one of the IDPs who preferred anonymity, said they were forcibly chased out of the village by the rampaging gunmen.
She said: “They came with full force at 5.30 pm and invaded us, we were not aware of their coming. They opened fire, shot sporadically and burnt down shops and our food barns.”