Gusau – Zamfara State witnessed another moment of blood spill on Thursday when gunmen killed over 31 people in some communities in Maradun Local Government Area of the state.
An eyewitness, Bawa Abdullahi, told Daily Independent that the unnumbered gunmen entered the villages and sacked the villagers, unleashing terror on them.
He said the gunmen operated unchallenged by any security organ despite the subsistence of a curfew placed in the state.
According to Abdullahi, the villages that were attacked included Sakkada, Gyadadde, Sabon Gari, Barin Zare, and Otawa villages.
He said seven people were killed in Sakkada; four in Gyadadde; eight in Barin Zare; four in Sabon Gari, and eight in Otawa.
He maintained that the armed bandits stormed the villages and opened fire indiscriminately and set the villages ablaze while cows and other domestic animals were roasted.
When contacted, SP Shehu Muhammad, the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), confirmed the incident and said a joint team of security forces was dispatched to the affected villages where three members of the armed bandits were killed while others fled.
The police spokesman said the security operatives were still within the axes to comb the whole area and ensure that the perpetrators were apprehended.
Muhammad noted that the armed bandits stormed the villages with the intention of evacuating all the cows and other domestic animals but that the operation failed.
President Muhammadu Buhari had in November, last year, ordered a military crackdown on brigands operating in rural communities in the state, but the brigandage had continued almost unabated.
In February, this year, thirty-six people were reported to have been killed by gunmen in Birane village in Zurmi Local Council of Zamfara State.
A month later, the police command in the state confirmed the killing of three persons at Bawan Daji village in Anka Local Government Area of the state.
Then, in April, the state witnessed what has so far been the goriest incident of bloodbath when about 187 persons were reported to have been massacred in Unguwar Galadima village, Dansadau Emirate of Maru Local Government Area of the state.
The bike-riding gunmen, numbering about 100, were said to have invaded the village and shot at everyone in sight, leaving several people dead, including community leaders and vigilante group members.
According to some victims who escaped the April Saturday attack, the incident occurred around 3:15p.m when members of vigilante groups from Sokoto, Kebbi, Kaduna, and Katsina states converged on the village and were holding a meeting organised to tackle insecurity affecting their states.
It was gathered that the vigilantes’ meeting was convened by one of the groups’ leaders identified as Kurma from Zamfara, with an agenda to get them organised to jointly comb the forest used as a hideout by the bandits.
Unconfirmed reports had it that the leader of the dangerous group had three days earlier sent a message to the convener of the meeting, warning him to call off the gathering but the request was turned down by majority of the participants.
Further reports claimed that majority of people were in the village on the market day when the gunmen struck.
Then in May, gunmen again killed about 30 persons in an attack on Malikawa village of Gidan Goga District in Maradun Local Government Area of the state.
According to residents, the gunmen had attacked and killed five persons on their farms on the fateful day.
DSP Muhammad Shehu, police spokesman, told reporters that the attack arose from a land dispute.