Terrorists sack 50 communities, abduct hundreds in Zamfara, Niger, kill 3

Terrorists have sacked about 50 communities and abducted hundreds of residents after weeks of incessant attacks in Zurmi local government area of Zamfara state, a lawmaker from the area has said.

Bello Hassan, who represents the Zurmi/Shinkafi Federal Constituency at the House of Representatives, told BBC Hausa Service on Tuesday that the gunmen  killed two police officers and three civilians during the attacks.

Premium Times last week reported how Zurmi, the second most populous town in Zamfara state, was overrun by terrorists who killed three officials at the emir’s palace and abducted many residents.

The lawmaker said over 500 people may have been abducted in the affected villages over the weeks. He said the wanton attacks have forced many of the residents to flee their homes.

Those who have stayed behind are being molested by the gunmen who are attacking the communities day and night, Hassan said, calling for intervention by the security agencies in the area.

“At Kanwa village on Saturday, the gunmen killed three people and abducted over 30 others. At Gidan Shaho in the Nasarawa area on Monday, they killed two police officers and wounded many people. We are now trying to ascertain the number of people missing following the (latest) attack,” the lawmaker said.

He said the attacks were continuing despite the efforts of the federal and state governments to check the atrocities.

“There is a need to redefine some of the approaches being deployed by the security operatives in fighting the terrorists in Zamfara,” said the lawmaker.

“The truth of the matter is that the security operatives deployed in Zamfara State are insignificant. Some of them deployed in the areas have overstayed, some for eight years, others 10 years. They have stayed longer than necessary, they need to be changed. We have reported this issue severally to those authorities concerned but without any response.”

He urged the security agencies to send more officers to the area and change their tactics in fighting the terrorists.

Zurmi is the second most populous town in Zamfara after Gusau, the state capital. Lying on the border with Niger Republic and sharing boundary with Katsina state, it is one of the areas frequently attacked by terrorists in the state.

Many communities in Katsina, Sokoto, Kaduna, Kebbi and Niger states are being attacked by different terror groups, locally called bandits.

The bandits usually ride in long convoys of motorcycles to their targets despite the presence of security personnel in the areas. (Premium Times)

…Niger too

Similarly, terrorists reportedly killed three villagers, abducted 20 persons, including a pastor, his wife and child in Munya local government area of Niger state.

It was learnt that the slain villagers included an unnamed cleric of the Evangelical Church of West Africa (ECWA)  in Majure village, some 10 kilometers away from Sarkin Pawa, the local government headquarters.

It was learnt that the incident occurred Monday evening, and that among those kidnapped were 10 passengers inside a commercial Sharon bus hijacked by the gunmen. 

A source from the area, who pleaded anonymity, confirmed the incident, adding that, “two other members of the Church were also among those killed in the incident that took place on Monday evening.”

Another eyewitness said after the attack, a pastor of another church, his wife and child are still missing, raising suspicion that they may have been killed or among those abducted. 

According to him, the gunmen kidnapped not less than 20 villagers, mostly women and children, and took them to an unknown destination.

“Also, a Sharon space bus conveying not less than 10 passengers was waylaid and its driver and passengers kidnapped. The vehicle was said to have been used to convey the victims,” said our source.  

Secretary of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in the state, Pastor Raphael Opawoye confirmed the death of the two church members Tuesday in Minna.

He said the association received reports of terrorists numbering over 50 and riding on motorcycles, and stormed the Majure village and adjoining communities.

According to him, they shot sporadically resulting in the stampede and the death of the villagers.

Efforts to get confirmation of the incident from the local government council chairman, Alhaji Aminu Najume, was abortive as his cell phone was not connecting, while the state police command was yet to comment on the incident.