A group of suspected bandits struck in Damaga village under Maradun local government area of Zamfara state, killing 13 villagers in a fresh attack in the state.
Zamfara has been under the gunmen’s siege in the last two weeks, with the latest being the abduction of some 279 schoolgirls in Jengbe in Talata Mafara local government area of the state.
And following the spate of attacks, Governor Mohammed Bello Matawalle, in a state broadcast Tuesday, announced that the federal government was planning a deployment of 6,000 troops to the state to tackle the bandits.
However, 24 hours after the broadcast, our correspondent reports fresh attack in the state, with 13 residents losing their lives in the ensuing melee.
A resident of the area identified as Malam Musa Damaga, in a telephone interview with Blueprint, said the bandits invaded Government Day Secondary School Damaga during school hours at around 1:00 pm, with the intent to kidnap the students of the school.
In the process, he said, one of the students lost his life following a gunshot from the bandits, leaving several people injured and others scampering for safety.
Damaga further stated that, the bandits moved to the village and began shooting sporadically, and killing 12 others in the process.
At the end, he said, the bandits carted away unspecified number of cows, goats and sheep.
“As I am talking to you now, we are now at the main Cemetery of our village conducting the burial of our 13 people killed by the bandits,” he stated.
On whether the security personnel came to their rescue, Damaga said, the security personnel stormed the village after the attack which he said lasted for one hour by the bandits.
“Yes we recognised the present of the security personnel after several distress calls to them. But unfortunately, they arrived immediately after the bandits finished their nefarious attack on our village,” he further said.
He called on both the federal and state governments to, as a matter of urgency, deploy more troops to the area to tackle the bandits.
When contacted, the state Police Public Relations Officer SP Muhammad Shehu, said the command was yet to receive reports of the attack .
He promised to get same across to the public as soon it’s available.
El-Rufai rules out negotiation
Meanwhile, Kaduna state Governor Nasir El-Rufai has said Nigeria must apply force against bandits to end the menace.
The governor spoke Wednesday while presenting his state’s annual security report for 2020 in Kaduna.
His comment formed a major highlight of the recommendations on way out of the menace in the northwest.
The governor said, to be able to crush the bandits and other violent criminals, the police and other security agencies must be adequately funded and equipped.
He reiterated his administration’s stance never to negotiate with criminals or consider granting them amnesty.
El-Rufai further said bandits, cattle rustlers and armed militias “must be degraded and decimated to a state of unconditional submission to constituted authority.”
“Criminal gangs, bandits, insurgents and ethno-religious militias made a conscious choice to challenge Nigeria’s sovereignty and menace our citizens. These criminals must be wiped out immediately and without hesitation,” the governor said.
He further said, the menace “has driven farmers from their land, putting food security at risk, displaced communities, stolen property and deprived people of their right to life. We must put a stop to these criminal acts and enable our people to live their lives in peace and safety. This is a most urgent task.”
The governor also said the police and other security agencies should be strengthened with adequate funds, “armament technology” and the required personnel.
“This national consensus to eliminate all forms of insecurity must be operationalised immediately. Our people face deadly perils daily. Converting this national consensus into decisions and actions in support of our armed forces, police and other security agencies with human and material resources cannot wait.
“The military and police need modern technology, advanced armaments, equipment and more boots on the ground. The security of our communities depend on the robust projection of state power, and that can only done with sufficient security numbers to overawe and deter criminals,” he added.