Suspected bandits Sunday evening killed at least 18 persons in Karaye town in Gummi Local Government Area of Zamfara State, residents and government officials said.
Residents said the attack was the deadliest in recent months as the armed bandits operated for hours without challenge from security agents. They said many casualties were recorded in the incident.
A military internal memo seen by PREMIUM TIMES confirmed 18 people killed in the attack reported having occurred at about 5.30 p.m on Sunday.
The memo said the attack was likely a reprisal of an incident at Bardoki district on November 3 in which about Seven repentant bandits were killed by vigilantes members.”.
However, a source at Gummi General Hospital said on Monday morning that he counted 20 corpses at the hospital’s mortuary.
He said more bodies were found in other parts of the community and its environs where the attack occurred, said the source who requested not to be named.
It’s a reprisal attack – Official
The Special Assistant to Governor Bello Matawalle on security matters, Abubakar Dauran, also said the attack was a reprisal by suspected Fulani whose relatives were earlier killed in the earlier attack on a market at Bardoki ward in Gummi two weeks ago.
Mr Dauran said a report with him indicated that 10 people were killed in the attack. He blamed the attack on community volunteers (‘Yansakai) who he said had earlier killed scores of Fulani people in the market attack.
He added that seven community volunteers (‘Yansakai) were arrested over the earlier attack, adding that many elderly persons were also killed at the time.
“The volunteers have been banned in the state, but they are still carrying on with their activities, sabotaging the peace efforts of the government. The peace process is on course.”
He urged residents not be discouraged by the attacks, saying the government is on top of the situation.
The spokesperson of the army’s Operation Hadarin Daji, Oni Orisan, did not respond to multiple calls and text messages sent to his line.
Zamfara has in recent years witnessed several killings linked to bandits. Governor Matawalle, shortly after he took office on May 29, negotiated a ceasefire with the bandits.