Armed men attacked three communities in Goronyo Local Government of Sokoto State on Wednesday, killing at least 29 people, an official has said.
The Sokoto police spokesperson, Muhammad Sadiq, said “scores were killed” by “unmerciful bandits”, and the state commissioner of police, Ibrahim Ka’oje, had promised “watertight security” during a visit to victims.
The sole administrator of the local government council, Zakari Chinaka, told PREMIUM TIMES late Friday that the attackers set fire on shops and stole cattle. He blamed the attack on “bandits”.
He said the attackers operated freely for more than two hours without any challenge because the area, a distance of three hours from the state capital, is difficult to access.
Mr Chinaka said 23 people were killed in Kamitau community, while five were killed in Ololo community. One person was killed in Rijiyar Tsamiya.
“The bandits razed down many silos and provision shops and cows, they rustled virtually almost all cows in the communities. The damage done is unquantifiable, only God can can repay the people,” he said.
Violence has gripped Zamfara, Sokoto and Katsina States in Nigeria’s troubled North west in recent months, with hundreds killed in attacks locals initially linked to illegal mining and cattle theft.
The attacks have continued despite increased deployment of security to the area, and states and the federal government have yet to identify those behind the killings beyond describing them as “bandits”.
A resident said after the latest violence in Sokoto, there were bodies on the ground as of Friday morning, two days after the attack occurred.
Reporters were told by Shafaya’u Goronyo that the bodies remained because residents and security agents could not quickly reach the site of the attack.
“The casualty figure is high in Kamitau community because many residents were mobilized 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,” Mr Shafaya’u said.
One source said the assailants struck between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. He said residents believed the assailants came from neighbouring Niger Republic.
The imam of Izala mosque in Goronyo town, Isma’il Sani, in his Friday sermon, called on the government to act proactively to prevent more bloodshed across the country.