Armed militant “bandits” riding motorcycles stormed three villages in northwestern Nigeria last week, killing at least 37 and leaving many more wounded.
The massacres took place in the villages of Kamitau, Ololo, and Rijiyar Tsamiya, all in Sokoto State, an area that has been infiltrated by Islamist terrorists and criminal bands, AFP reported Sunday.
The news agency’s local correspondent, Zakari Chinaka, said that the bandits opened fire on the local inhabitants and burned their crops, carrying off all their cattle.
The villagers did their best to defend themselves, which only served to provoke the assailants to further slaughter, he said.
“Scores were killed” by “unmerciful bandits,” declared Muhammad Sadiq, spokesman for the Sokoto police. The state police commissioner, Ibrahim Ka’oje, reportedly promised “watertight security” during a visit to victims.
The terrorists carried out their raid for more than two hours without any challenge from law enforcement, primarily because the remote district is difficult to reach, at a distance of some three hours from the state capital.
According to one local resident, Shafaya’u Goronyo, there were still bodies on the ground as of Friday morning, two days after the attack occurred.
“The casualty figure is high in Kamitau community because many residents were mobilised and came out in numbers and chased the already fleeing bandits with the aim to retrieve their rustled cows, as a result of which the bandits opened fire on them and killed many,” Shafaya’u said.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has condemned the latest slaughter, but critics continue to insist that Buhari himself is part of the problem.
On Sunday, human rights lawyer Femi Falana and the former governor of Kaduna State, Balarabe Musa, said that President Buhari’s failure to take decisive steps is allowing the nation to slide toward anarchy.
“The appropriate response to these sectional voices is not to glibly question the patriotism of any person or group,” the two men said in a joint declaration. “The effective response is to compel the Nigerian state under the watch of President Muhammadu Buhari to perform the constitutional duty of keeping Nigeria secure.”
“Nigeria must not be turned into a killing field,” they said.
The declaration call for a collaborative effort all the tiers of government.
“If the degeneration in the Nigerian condition is not halted, the nation may descend into anarchy,” it reads. “Doubtless, the poor people will bear the brunt of such an avoidable disaster. We, therefore, call on President to rally the country around a national purpose of security everywhere in Nigeria as the constitution demands.”
Last month, 43 died in attacks in the districts of Rabah and Isa, also in Sokoto State.