Unidentified Gunmen Kill 45 in Kaduna

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By John Shiklam in Kaduna    

It was yet again another day of tears and sorrow at Gwaska village in Birnin Gwari Local Government Area of Kaduna State, after the community was attacked by unidentified armed bandits on Saturday, leading to the deaths of 45 residents and several injured.

The incident was said to have occurred at 2:30 a.m. and happened barely 48 hours after the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris and the General Officer Commanding (GOC), 1 Division, Nigerian Army, Kaduna, Maj. Gen. Mohammed Mohammed had visited Birnin Gwari.

The IG had during the visit ordered for the immediate deployment of an additional 200 policemen in Birnin Gwari to tackle the continuing raids by armed bandits who have been killing, kidnapping and robbing people in the area.

A source within the Birnin Gwari Vanguard for Security and Good Governance, who pleaded anonymity, said the gunmen came from neighbouring Zamfara State.

“The armed bandits came from neighbouring Zamfara State and encircled Gwaska up to neighbouring Kuiga village shooting sporadically.”

The source said most of those killed were those that tried to fight back, including women and children who could not escape.

He added that several people were injured during the invasion and were taken to a hospital in the Doka district.

“We will continue to appeal to the authorities to take urgent steps to forestall further attacks and the extinction of communities in Birnin Gwari Local Government Area,” he said.

A combined team of Nigerian troops and members of the local vigilante group were said to have rushed to the village when the incident occurred, but by the time they arrived the community, the bandits had fled.

The vigilante group source said: “We were in Gwaska together with the military around 7 p.m., but the commander asked the soldiers to retreat because it was getting dark.”

He said several people were still missing, adding that arrangements were being made to evacuate more people who had sustained injuries from gunshots.

When contacted, the spokesman of the Kaduna State Police Command, Aliyu Mukhtar, said in a text message that he “will get the details and get back”.

Speaking on the latest attack on Birnin Gwari, the Kaduna State governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai commiserated with its residents over the killings. 

He disclosed that the security challenges facing the area would soon be over as a permanent battalion of the Nigerian Army and a Police Area Command will be established in Birnin Gwari.

The governor said President Muhammadu Buhari has already given approval to that effect. 

In a statement by Samuel Aruwan, his spokesman, el-Rufai said the police IG had already approved the establishment of the Police Area Command and two new Divisional Police Headquarters in Birnin Gwari.

The statement said in part: “The state government received with sadness reports of the murder of our citizens by armed bandits in Birnin Gwari.

“The Kaduna State Government is deeply committed to overcoming the unfortunate criminality and banditry being carried out against innocent citizens in Birnin Gwari Local Government Area.

“The engagements between the state and federal governments have yielded results. President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the establishment of a permanent battalion of the Nigerian Army in the Birnin Gwari general area.

“The new security arrangements also involve policing. The Inspector General of Police has already announced the creation of the Birnin Gwari Police Area Command and two new Divisional Police Headquarters.

“The State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) has also been directed to provide relief materials with immediate effect to the affected communities,” the governor said.