Yemi Adedeji, Abuja
Forty-one people have been reportedly killed in Birane village, Zurmi local government area of Zamfara State by suspected armed bandits.
The attack is the latest in a series of deadly raids on rural communities in the state, had however forced the Federal Government to announce plan to establish a Brigade Command of the Nigerian Army in the state to help check armed banditry and cattle rustling plaguing the communities in the state.
In Thursday’s attack, the gunmen intercepted a canter vehicle conveying bridesmaids and traders to the community market, where they slit the throat of the driver and then opened fire on the vehicle killing all on board and then set it ablaze.
The armed bandits then proceeded to the community market and started shooting indiscriminately, forcing the traders to scamper for safety as the gunmen continued their assault unabated.
Hussaini Abdu, a resident said, “they (the bandits) arrived in large number and on motorbikes intercepting and killing people who were coming or going out of the village. About 41 people were shot dead within a short period of time.”
He explained that a commercial motorbike rider conveying a woman and her three children was killed and his motor bike burnt adding that up till now the where about of the woman and her children is not known.
Muhammad Shehu , Zamfara State Police Command Spokesman said the conflict arose after hunters and local vigilantes mobilised and launched a pre-emptive attack on the armed bandits after they heard that the bandits were preparing to attack their community.
He said instead of the residents to give the security operatives timely information to avert the attack they decided to take law in to their hands by going out to confront the gunmen.
“You know Birane is a very remote community. Yet, I can’t tell you the actual figures of the casualties till after the Deputy Commissioner operations of the command comes back. He, alongside other officers are there to assess the situation and provide additional security measures,” he added.
In November last year, 24 people were killed and dozens of residential houses torched in attacks on about three communities in Shinkafi local government area of the state.