At least 19 people have lost their lives in attacks and counter-attacks in Giwa Local Government of Kaduna State as bandits clashed with locals.
The wave of violence started on January 1 when bandits killed a local vigilante leader and kidnapped some locals, including two women in Kaya town.
A statement by the state commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, said the locals retaliated the killing of the vigilante leader by killing four herdsmen.
In retaliation to the killing of four herdsmen, over a hundred bandits invaded Kaya town and killed 11 people.
“The military and other security agencies have informed Kaduna State Government that several lives were lost in a series of killings and counter-killings in Giwa local government area of Kaduna Central Senatorial District,” Mr Aruwan said.
“The killings and counter-killings occurred at Kaya community, which shares a boundary with Hayin Kaura village of Dandume local government area of Katsina State.
“According to the security brief, the violence began on the 1st of January, 2021 when armed bandits attacked Kaya town and kidnapped some locals including two married women.
“The bandits were fiercely pursued by a combined team of volunteers from Kaya, and from Hayin Kaura village of Katsina State, in keeping with their practice of supporting security efforts in their respective communities.
“The bandits in the course of the confrontation kidnapped and killed one Shamsu Umar, a leader of the Kaya volunteers. His corpse was found on the 2nd of January 2021 after a search operation in the forest.
“On the same day as the recovery of the corpse, unidentified persons came across some herders, and in apparent retaliation for the killing of Shamsu Umar, killed four of them — Musa Lawal, Ibrahim Sani, Haruna Umar and Idi Isah.
“At around 6:30pm yesterday, 2nd January 2021, over 50 motorcycles each carrying three-men wielding AK-47 rifles, stormed Kaya town in Giwa local government and began shooting sporadically.
“Troops of the Nigerian Army and police operatives were quickly deployed to the location, along with an air platform of the Nigerian Air Force.
“Sadly, the following locals were killed: Hudu Shafiu, Madaro Madaki, Ibrahim Hamida, Ibrahim Mohammed Maidoya, Kabiru Maitakalmi, Ibrahim Kayawa, Danladi Daiyabu, Zubairu Mailemu, Awwalu Yahaya, Audu Sarkar and Maharazu Adamu.
“Three unidentified corpses were also recovered, said to be drivers in transit from from Funtua, Katsina State.
“Similarly, the following persons sustained bullet wounds and are receiving medical attention at Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital (ABUTH) Shika, Zaria: Mujahideen Muhammad, Suleiman Mustapha Bashir, Ibrahim Sulaiman, Nuhu Idris, Alkassim Ismail, Nafi’u Sirajo, Musa Magaji, Muhammad Salisu Kaya and Musa Ibrahim.
“After the attack, security agencies confirmed that several shops, five vehicles and some motorcycles were burnt by the attackers.
“Aside the images attached to this security update, the Kaduna State Government is in possession of other highly disturbing images of casualties sustained in the killing and counter-killing, which cannot be made public for ethical considerations.”
The Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai, who was involved in coordinating responses to the attack on Saturday night, condoled the families that lost their loved ones and prayed for the repose of their souls.
As he has repeatedly done, the governor appealed earnestly for recourse to the law as the main solution to the violence, killings and counter-killings by aggrieved groups and Individuals.
The governor expressed deep concern, and tasked security agencies to carry out extensive investigations into the circumstances leading to the killings.