Agaju Madugba, Katsina
Days after suspected bandits killed the District Head of Yantumaki in Dan-Musa Local Government Area of Katsina State, the hoodlums on Tuesday evening reportedly launched sporadic attacks on a number of communities of Faskari Local Government Area, slaughtering over 30 residents, according to eyewitness accounts.
The Katsina State Police Command confirmed that 20 residents were killed at Kadisaau village alone while survivors from the neighbouring Kabalawa, Kwakware, Unguwar Wahabi and Randuma villages gave a total figure of 18 villagers who were murdered during the attacks on their communities.
The reports said that the victims included children while the bandits also raped a number of the women and rustled some cattle.
A former Chairman of Faskari Local Government Area, Mohammed Hassan, told reporters that corpses of five victims were evacuated on Wednesday morning from the hospital where several injured persons were taken and additional two corpses recovered near an irrigation farm.
‘Most of the victims were from Kadisau village where more than 32 people lost their lives,’ he said.
Confirming the report, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) at the Katsina State Police Command, SP Gambo Isah, regretted that the bandits were poised ‘to ridicule efforts of the security forces as if we are not on the ground.’
According to him, ‘we received a report last night (Tuesday) that armed bandits numbering over 200 attacked Kadisaau village in Faskari Local Government Area.
‘The report said that the bandits went there with the intention to steal foodstuff and other items from the villages but unfortunately some of the youth in the area confronted the bandits.
‘The bandits opened fire on these innocent people and killed 14 of the youths on the spot while 26 others were admitted in a hospital as of Tuesday evening.
‘This morning (Wednesday), I spoke with the police commander in charge of the area and he said that six additional persons died in the hospital, bringing the number of people killed to 20.
‘We assure the people, especially those living on the fringes of the frontline areas that the security agencies are doing everything possible to ensure that peace returns in the communities.
‘President Muhammadu Buhari had detailed the service chiefs including the Inspector-General of Police to deploy personnel to the areas and they are already here.
‘We have captured many enclaves of the bandits and recovered hundreds of cattle rustled from the communities.
‘There are over 5,000 villages around the Rugu forest and Katsina State borders with Zamfara State and with even the Birnin-Gwari forest as well as the Republic of Niger.
‘The security forces cannot be in all these places at the same time, we cannot be everywhere.’
Apart from the Yantumaki District Head who was murdered on May 31st, bandits had also on Tuesday morning abducted a man and his daughter from the same location, a development which forced residents to stage street protests on Wednesday at Yantumaki, during which a cross-section of the residents showered invectives on the President and on Governor Aminu Bello Masari.
Masari had last year initiated a number of dialogue meetings with the bandits which the governor described recently as having collapsed, explaining the renewed onslaught on hapless villagers in parts of the state.