Gunmen in large numbers, on motorcycles, were reported to have stormed villages in Zamfara state and killed over 30 people.
The attacks, which were carried out simultaneously, occurred on Tuesday in two Local Government Areas of the state.
The villages attacked by the bandits were Gobirawa, Rini, Gora, and Madoti Dankule in Bakura and Maradun LGAs of the state located in the north-western region of the country.
Witnesses said the assailants stormed the villages and began to fire sporadic gunshots.
This led to the loss of lives and several others were injured, while houses and other valuables of the villagers were razed.
“More security personnel are needed in this area if farming is to be successful this season,” said Aminu Suleiman, who is the Sole Administrator of Bakura LGA.
Suleiman spoke on Wednesday when the Speaker of the Zamfara State House of Assembly, Nasiru Magarya, led a delegation of the state government to the affected villages.
He told the delegation that had come to sympathise with the victims that more than 30 people have been killed after the villages were attacked.
“On Tuesday, we prayed for 17 (dead) people in Rini and about 10 people in Gora; there were two incidents actually.
“The first attack that led to the killings of about more than 20 people and the reprisal (by the Yan-Sakai – local vigilante) that led to the killing of about 10 people as well,” the sole administrator recounted.
Sani Lawal, one of the victims and a resident of Gobirawa, who spoke in Hausa, narrated how the bandits invaded the communities.
“The gunmen came in a large number on motorcycles which could not be counted. They rounded off the villages and were shooting sporadically.
“This led to the killing of 28 persons in the affected villages, aside from those who were rushed to hospitals; they (the bandits) also burned down houses and other valuables,” the witness said.
In his reaction, the speaker of the Assembly explained that they were directed by the state governor, Bello Matawalle, to visit the victims and sympathise with them.
He wished the injured victims a quick recovery and prayed for the repose of the souls of those who lost their lives to the attacks.
Magarya assured the victims that the state government would provide succour to them and ensure the deployment of more security personnel in the area.
He condemned the attacks and described them as barbaric and callous, saying the government would not relent in its efforts to crush bandits who fail to repent and tow the path of peace.
“The government is highly concerned, and it will deploy adequate security to ensure that the farming season is not disrupted,” said the Secretary to the State Government, Bala Maru.
Other members of the delegation were the Commissioners of Security and Home Affairs, Information, as well as the Commissioner of Police in charge of the Zamfara State Police Command.
Reports have it that residents in Magami district, Thursday morning recovered 53 corpses. They said the attackers moved from village to village, unleashing mayhem, unchallenged.
There was tension in the area over fears that the gunmen would return to disrupt the burial of those killed. Residents said many of those killed were vigilantes who tried to defend their villages against the bandits.
According to reports by BBC Hausa, the funeral of the people killed by the gunmen were held this morning.
A witness who told the BBC said that the bandits operated for about seven hours (from 7am – 1pm) unchallenged. He said they reported the attack to security forces but no help came.