- Our villages now under siege, residents lament
- Police pledge to fish out perpetrators
Francis Sardauna in Katsina
No fewer than 30 persons have been killed in a fresh attack launched by suspected armed bandits in Tsauwa and Dankar villages of Batsari Local Government Areas, Katsina State.
According to residents of the villages, the suspected bandits, numbering about 50 on motorcycles launched the fresh onslaught on the villages at about 6:45pm, which rendered many of them homeless.
They claimed that the attack on the villages forced hundreds of residents to flee their ancestral homes to Batsari, the headquarters of Batsari local government area.
While the bandits met stiff resistance in Dankar from the security operatives and residents, the residents claimed that they had a field day in Tsauwa where they sacked the villages, destroyed and looted shops and rustled an unspecified numbers of cattle.
The state governor, Alhaji Aminu Masari had granted amnesty to bandits after a tour to Fulani settlements and strong enclaves of the bandits in Rugu Forest on September 4-9, 2019 during which the bandits and forest commanders denounced banditry and accepted peace.
Other governors of states in the North-west had adopted the peace initiative after a peace summit the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu convened in Katsina.
The initiative had culminated in discussions with representatives of the bandits from the affected States of Katsina, Kebbi, Niger, Sokoto, Kaduna and Zamfara States.
Five months after the Katsina State Government granted amnesty to repentant bandits, residents of the state had claimed that the peace accord had collapsed citing renewed armed attacks and nefarious activities in the state.
THISDAY visited the affected communities amidst tight security, observing that the hoodlums burnt most of the victims beyond recognition and left many in critical condition following gunshot injuries they sustained.
Reports revealed that those massacred by the assailants “are mostly women, children and the elderly people who could not run during the invasion, as those who survived the attack were leaving the villages.”
Speaking on the attack, the Ward Head of Tsauwa, Salisu Lawal confirmed the attack, saying the bandits invaded the area when they were observing Magrib (Muslim 7 O’clock prayer).
He said: “We were observing Magrib when the bandits riding on motorcycles laid siege on our village and started shooting sporadically. They killed 23, injured some people and rustled many of our cattle including sheep and goats.
“The unfortunate thing is that we informed the security agents of the bandits’ plan to invade our village but no action was taken by them until after attack. We are calling on government to come to our rescue.”
He lamented that villages in Batsari local government are under siege by armed bandits whom he said were launching attacks on daily basis in the areas.
Addressing journalists in Tsauwa village, the Commissioner of Police, Sanusi Buba said the bandits killed 30 persons in Tsauwa and Dankar villages.
He said the bandits “killed 21 people in Tsauwa village and nine at Dankar. When I got the information, myself in conjunction with the army, we mobilised our officers and laid siege on the communities.
“You can see the terrain is very far and there is no network but that notwithstanding we were able to come and engage them to some extents they get scared and left.
“Before our men could come, the bandits set some houses ablaze in a selected manner. I don’t know what informed this ungodly act. Whatever may be the reason, it is bad and sad”.
The state police chief, however, vowed to fish out the perpetrators of the attack, saying the state government had contributed immensely in tackling bloodletting in the state.