Gunmen kill 21 in Southern Kaduna attacks


No fewer than 21 persons have been reported killed in villages of Kaura and Jema’a Local Government Areas in southern Kaduna State.
The state government yesterday confirmed the renewed attacks as the Garrison Commander of the Army’s 1 Division and the Commissioner of Police relocated to the area.
It was learnt that gunmen suspected to be Fulani herdsmen, despite the presence of security agents, launched attacks on four communities, killing 21 people.
Many houses were reportedly set ablaze during the Sunday and Monday attacks on Ashim, Nissi and Zilan in Atakad District, Kaura Local Government and Bakin Kogi in Goska District of Jama’a Local Government.
The attacks in Ashim, Nisi and Zilan, according to eye witnesses took place yesterday at about 6:00pm, claiming 15 lives; over 50 houses were burnt. Those at Bakin Kogi occurred on Sunday at about 5:00pm, claiming seven lives; many houses were set ablaze.
The President of Atakad Community Development Association, Mr. Enock Andong, who confirmed the attack on the three villages, said the herdsmen were heavily armed and that in spite of the security presence, they launched the attacks.
He noted that one of the attackers was killed by soldiers.
Enock Barau, a resident of Bakin Kogi, told of how the gun bearing herdsmen invaded his village, saying they wore black dresses. They started shooting sporadically on arrival in the village, he said.
He said the attack lasted for about four hours. His community, with the support of soldiers, tried to repel the attackers.
Said Barau: “Yesterday (Sunday) around 5pm, we heard gunshots within our surrounding. When I heard the gun shots three times, I came out of my house. The gunshots continued rapidly. Before I could realise what was happening, they had surrounded part of the community. I saw many people coming down from the hill side, shooting and running. They were in a complete black and black from head to toe.
“As they were shooting, we managed to evacuate women out to a safe zone while the men stayed for defence. The shooting started around 5 pm to 9pm before they eventually stopped. As they were shooting, they were burning our houses. Over 100 houses were set ablaze. Seven people were killed and one person is still missing.
“We have soldiers and policemen stationed in the community, but, unfortunately, the soldiers were just coming from the river where they went to have their bath. So they were caught unawares. The herdsmen took control of their camp and the soldiers had to run back to strategies to take over their camp. “We are very impressed with the soldiers because they did their best.
“After taking over their camp from the herdsmen, some of the soldiers moved into the community to help us. But the mobile police whose Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) was stationed directly opposite my house didn’t do much; they were just driving up and down without firing a single shot at the gunmen. The police only started responding to the attack when a senior officer arrived. By the time a reinforcement arrived, the attackers had left”.
The state government said the top military Commander and the Police Commissioner relocated to Southern Kaduna to coordinate a determined response to the renewed attacks by the armed bandits.
According to a statement signed by the Special Assistant to Governor Nasir El-Rufai on Media and Publicity, Samuel Aruwan, the situation in the communities had been brought under control by Monday afternoon, with the relocation of Brigadier-General Ismaila Isa and CP Agyole Abeh.
The statement said: “Governor Nasir El-Rufai has extended his condolences to the families of the victims of the renewed attacks which began last night, 19th February 2017. The governor assured them that the government is fully committed to securing the area, with the active support of the army and the police.”
The statement added that the two battalions of the army and the 10 mobile police squadrons are engaging the bandits, as the state carries out its obligations to secure the area, protect lives and rout these armed bandits.”
The statement quoted the governor as saying: “Despite these difficulties and the pain of the attacks, this is not the time to give the bandits the pleasure of seeing victims turn on each other.”
He called for support for the army and the security agencies as they work to repel attacks and crush the bandits.
“Unknown gunmen in a coordinated attack invaded Bakin Kogi, Kaninkon Village in Jemaa Local Government Area in the state on Sunday 19th February, 2017 at about 5:30pm. They were repulsed by Operation Yaki Surveillance Patrol Teams and Operation Harmony Patrol Teams. Further attacks were recorded today in Kaura local government. Fatalities were recorded and some houses were burnt in the attacks.”


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