Deadly attacks in Plateau and Yobe states yesterday left 50 people killed by rampaging gunmen, including three soldiers and one policeman, while several houses were torched.
In Plateau, two soldiers attached to the Special Task Force, STF, died with the 30 villagers killed in the early hours of yesterday when gunmen attacked Rajak and Atakar villages in Riyom Local Government Area of the state.
It was gathered that scores of villagers also sustained injuries during the attack. The gunmen also burnt several houses. Sources said the attack had sent shock waves to the security agents as it came less than 24 hours after the state police command held a security meeting with stakeholders on how to restore permanent peace in the state
The local government has been under siege by gunmen for some time. Last week, a Chinese contractor was killed by the gunmen in the locality with perpetrators yet to be found.
In the latest attacks, an eyewitness said the gunmen, numbering over 100 stormed the two communities about 3a.m. yesterday and started shooting indiscriminately, leading to the death of the victims, who were still sleeping. According to them, 19 of the victims were killed in Rajat while 11 others were killed in Atakar village. They also said that about 60 houses were razed by the gunmen.
A member of the state House of Assembly representing Riyom constituency who confirmed the attack in Jos yesterday described the incident as sad. He said that two STF members deployed to restore law and order in the state were also killed. “As we speak, those killed have been given mass burial.
Scores of persons were injured and have fled their homes to neighbouring villages in Kaduna State.” He called on the Federal Government to deploy more troops and to begin air surveillance to stop further attacks in the communities.
The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Felicia Anselm, also confirmed the attack but could not ascertain the number of those killed. She, however, added that efforts were being made to apprehend the attackers. In Yobe, 18 traders were killed by gunmen in a local market on Monday.
A lecturer with the College of Agriculture, Gujba, was also said to have been shot dead by the fleeing gunmen at Buni Gari while returning from Ashaka town in Gombe State. The state Police Commissioner, Alhaji Sanusi Rufai, confirmed that the 18 traders were killed by armed bandits in two villages in Gulani Local Government Area.
The police boss said: “The traders were ambushed by the bandits while travelling back from Ngalda local market. “The bandits attacked and killed 18 traders, 10 from Kukuwa and eight from Dokshi villages and took away their money estimated at millions of naira.
“The bandits were masked and wearing army uniforms.” Rufai said that a policeman attached to a quarry in Bara village was also shot dead by the fleeing bandits.
“The Joint Task Force, JTF, and police are now combing the bush and security agents across the state are on red alert.” He stressed that the police was rebuilding confidence among the communities to encourage people volunteer information to security operatives.
The commissioner said that “bandits now parade themselves as Boko Haram to induce fear in people.” Meanwhile, the Yobe State Council of Chiefs yesterday condemned the attack on the innocent traders.
In a communiqué issued at the end of their 7th Council meeting held in Damaturu, the monarchs commended the security agents for restoring peace in the state but however regretted the Monday night’s attack.
The Emir of Fika, Mohammad Abali ibn Idrissa Mohamadu, called on the people to cooperate with security agencies in the fight against terror.
Meanwhile, the Centre for Development and Rights Advocacy, CEDRA, has called on the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency in Kaduna State, as the only means of securing Southern Kaduna from such attacks.
A statement by the Director of CEDRA, Dr. John Danfulani, and made available to journalists in Kaduna, said: “It is clear that Governor Yero of Kaduna State and his security team are deficit of the knowledge of effective administration and physical security management. “This has denied him/ them the capacity to carry out the number one duty of the state, i.e. protection of lives and property of citizens under their control.
“It is a global norm that any government that is incapable of performing that crucial role is not worth staying in power for a single second. “We are by this reinforcing our 2013 position that, Mr. President should declare a state of emergency in Kaduna State.”
by JAMES ABRAHAM, AZA MSUE AND INUSA NDAHI