• Makarfi, Shehu Sani condemn attacks
• FG approves new military battalion, police command for Birnin Gwari
Chinelo Obogo; Agaju Madugba, Katsina; agency reports
Saturday’s raid by suspected bandits at Gwaska in Birnin-Gwari Local Government Area of Kaduna State, which left about 45 people dead, has received wide condemnation from prominent politicians in the State.
This is even as President Muhammadu Buhari has approved a new military battalion for the area.
Personal Assistant to President Buhari on New Media, Bashir Ahmad, who made the disclosure yesterday, said the president also approved a new Police Area Command and two additional Divisional Police Headquarters for Birnin-Gwari.
Bandits attacked Gwaska village in Birnin Gwari lastSaturday, leaving about 45 persons dead.
Residents said the killings occurred around 2:30p.m. when the bandits stormed the village in large numbers on motorcycles. They also burnt many houses in the community.
“We will also deploy another 200 police officers by next week to help protect life and property in Birnin Gwari. We are doing everything possible to secure the area,” he said.
On the need for the police command to work with local vigilante in the area, the Commissioner of Police, Mr Austin Iwar, said the police is already doing so, and will continue to work with them in the area of community policing.
A community leader in Birnin Gwari, who simply identified himself as Hussaini, said over 40 bodies were brought to emir’s place in Birnin Gwari, on Sunday afternoon.
“Some bodies believed to have been burnt were already buried by their love ones at Doka and Mando villages, few kilometres from Birnin Gwari town,” he said.
Following the latest attack, Governor Nasir El-Rufai, last Sunday evening, had announced that the federal government agreed to deploy a permanent army battalion in the troubled area.
“The killings in Birnin Gwari are regrettable. To bring an end to the bloodletting, and ensure the criminals behind it are brought to justice, President Buhari has approved a new military battalion, a new police area command, and two additional divisional police headquarters for the area.
“The federal government will do everything in its power, working with Governor el-Rufai and the state government, to ensure the security of life and property in Kaduna state — and all other troubled areas. Additional security deployments are ongoing…”
El-Rufai confirmed the development, and stressed that engagements between the state and the federal government are yielding results.
“Military and security deployments have continued in the area since then, but, the bandits hiding in the forests continue to exert a deadly toll, killing civilians, soldiers and other security forces
“The federal government has now approved a permanent army battalion in the area, instead of the previous ad-hoc deployments. Police strength in the Birnin-Gwari axis is also being enhanced,” the governor confirmed.
Meanwhile, the state police command has announced the deployment of three additional police mobile units, to reinforce security in Birnin Gwari.
The command’s spokesman, Mukhtar Aliyu, who made the disclosure in Kaduna, said no arrest has been made, but, efforts are on to track down the killers.
He said the policemen were detailed to comb the area for the killers and other criminals.
The Commissioner of Police, Mr Austin Iwar, had earlier said 45 bodies were retrieved on Sunday, for burial, while more than 200 police personnel were deployed to maintain security.
The Kaduna State Government had also, in a statement, said an Army battalion would be permanently deployed in the area to check the killings.
The statement added that the government has directed the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) to immediately provide relief materials to the effected community.
On his part, Senator Shehu Sani has declared the herdsmen and bandits killing in Northern Nigeria a terrorist group.
The Senator representing Kaduna Central senatorial district made this known via his Twitter handle, as he reacted to the killings that took place in Birnin Gwari on Sunday.
He said the people perpetuating the killings in the North are terrorists, except the truth is not being told.
“Herdsmen who commit massacre in Benue and Taraba and ‘bandits’ who commit massacre in Zamfara and Birnin Gwari, in Kaduna state, are nothing but terrorists; except we want to call a spade a pestle or a spoon
“The indifference of the ruling political establishment, to end the ceaseless violence and killings in the country is based on the fact that the victims are the poor and the peasants in rural areas.
“I will support the president on the floor of the Senate, to fund and equip the Department of State Services (DSS), Police and Civil Defence, as he did to the military, so we can bring an end to all the excuses now ‘produced daily in an industrial-scale.’”
Meanwhile, former a governor of the state, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, has condemned the killings in the state and described it as worrisome.
In a statement by his aide, Mukhtar Sirajo, he said the recent killing of over 40 people by unidentified armed bandits in Gwaska, Birnin Gwari Local Government Area of Kaduna State, is heinous and called on the federal government to urgently intervene by increasing security in hotspots across the country.
He said: “The frequency, impotence as well as impunity with which bandits raid communities in some parts of the country, and leave unchallenged, is a source of worry to all patriotic Nigerians.
“The latest of such brazen violations of the peace and security of the people, which occurred earlier today, in Gwaska of Birnin Gwari Local Government Area of Kaduna State, which itself was the second time in a week, certainly, is becoming one too many.”
Reports have it that over 40 people were killed in cold blood apart from sacking the village and setting it ablaze.