With Nigeria currently groaning under the continued killings by well armed Fulani herdsmen across the country, “bandits” have attacked and killed at least 41 people at Birane village in Zurmi Local Government Area of Zamfara State.
According to a resident of the affected area, Bello Muhammad Zurmi, who spoke to some newsmen on telephone about the attack, the incident started at about 5p.m. on Wednesday when the gunmen ambushed a Cantar truck conveying over 20 people, slaughtered them and burnt their bodies inside the truck.
Next, Bello said, the bandits invaded Birane market and started shooting indiscriminately at innocent people who were innocently going about their normal business and a number of people were killed on the spot.
He said that the gunmen, however, returned again the following day, Thursday, to the same area and gunned down more people hence bringing the total number of victims to 41.
Bello explained that the attack was a reprisal over the killing by vigilantes and local hunters of two “bandits” a few weeks ago.
Meanwhile, the Zamfara State Police Command has claimed that only 18 persons died in the fresh spate of attacks.
Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), of the Zamfara State Command, DSP Muhammad Shehu, while confirming the killing as a retaliation for the earlier killing of two “bandits” stated as follows, –
“When the community received message from the bandits that they will soon attack them, no one informed security agencies. Unfortunately, the local hunters went to their hideout inside nearby bush and confronted the bandits. I can authoritatively confirm that many local hunters died while the majority of those who survived sustained serious injuries in the encounter.
The command is yet to ascertain the exact number of those who lost their lives as report available to police indicated that many people were feared dead and many injured.“
He said that a joint task operation of Anti-Cattle Rustling and Banditry popularly known as Operation Bush combined team has already been deployed in the area to ensure restoration of peace.