How Bandits Killed 73 in Katsina

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Francis Sardauna writes that for the past three weeks, tension has heightened in four Local Government Areas of Katsina State, following renewed attacks orchestrated by bandits on some communities in the areas

In the past three weeks, more than 73 people were killed in fresh separate attacks orchestrated by bandits in some villagers in Dutsin-Ma, Danmusa, Safana and Faskari local government areas of Katsina State. The multiple attacks, which started at Kuraichi village of Dutsin-Ma Local Government spread to 12 other villages across the four local government areas. The latest attacks were coming on the heels of the peace pact reached by the state government and the marauding bandits. The rapprochement saw significant reduction in massive attacks on the state’s rural communities.

But the resurgence of the heinous activities in some local governments in the state, despite the peace accord, observers said, might not be unconnected with how some of the repentant bandits refused to surrender their weapons. The recent invasions which forced hundreds of residents to flee their ancestral homes, rendered thousands homeless and left dozens with varying degrees of injuries as well as properties worth millions of naira were been destroyed by the men of the underworld. Although, the cause of the fresh onslaughts on the villages still remained sketchy, it was gathered that it was a reprisal by the hoodlums over an earlier attack by some villagers.

However, sources said during the attacks the bandits were demanding for foodstuff and other items shared to the villagers by the federal government to cushion the hardship faced by Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the areas. Residents said the bandits invaded the affected villages on motorcycles, firing shots into the air and then started moving from one house to another killing people. Shortly afterwards, they left with some of the villagers they abducted through forest path.

One of the residents, Turaki Sedique said: “The bandits killed 5 persons at Kuraichin Giye, 6 at Kuraichin Malam. They also killed 1 person at Dogon Ruwa and 7 persons at U/Bera. All these villages are in Dutsin-Ma Local Government. While in Danmusa Local Government, they killed 17 at Gurzar Kuka and 13 at Gurzar Gamji. In Safana Local Government, the bandits killed 19 people at Makanwaci village and 5 were also killed at Daulai village. The total number of dead bodies evacuated in all the villages is 73”. He explained that the bandits attacked Kuraichi village but were repelled by residents and the vigilante, saying “some residents went after Fulani houses, burning them and their foodstuff, which resulted in multiple attacks”.

The spokesman of the State Police Command SP Gambo Isah said it was a clash between the local vigilante groups known as Yan-Sakai and the armed bandits that resulted in the deaths. Isah, in a statement said: “On 18/04/2020 at about 00:30hrs, bandits in their numbers, armed with AK47 rifles attacked Kurechi village of Danmusa LGA of Katsina state. The villagers summoned courage and chased away the hoodlums.

“Later the villagers started burning empty corn stalk to keep their animals safe and to keep the hoodlums at bay. Subsequently, the situation changed when some Yansakai group started setting ablaze some Fulani settlements at Aibon Mangwaro Village of Danmusa LGA of Katsina state. Consequently, on the same date at about 03:00hrs, there was reports of organized and simultaneous attacks in villages in Danmusa, Dutsin-Ma and Safana by groups of armed bandits.”