Death toll in Zamfara bandits attacks hits 90
•State govt shuts four markets in three LGs
•Only 25 were killed, say police
The Zamfara State Government yesterday ordered immediate closure of four markets across three local government areas in the state as death toll from reprisal attacks between bandits and vigilante members rose to 90.
Reports from affected communities indicated that no fewer than 90 corpses had been buried after the latest round of mayhem while many people were still missing.
The affected markets include Magami, Dan Sadau, Wanke and Dauran in Gusau, Maru and Zurmi local government areas of the state.
While the state government was silent on the casualty figures, residents of Magami said they had buried more than 60 corpses as at yesterday morning, with many of them brought in from surrounding villages.
They had earlier reported the recovery of 53 bodies, saying that many residents who were still missing were feared killed.
The funeral prayer was presided over by the Chief Imam of Magami town, Sanusi Na’ibi.
Gusau Local Government Area where the attackers were said to be purely on a mission to kill and not to loot was believed to be the worst hit.
The local government area hosts two of the affected markets, namely Magami and Wanke.
Other affected local government areas are Maru and Zumi, which host Dansadau and Dauran markets respectively.
“Security agencies are hereby directed to ensure strict compliance. They are also ordered to deal, ruthlessly with anyone found violating law and order within and around the affected markets,” the state’s commissioner for information, Ibrahim Dosara, said in a statement.
Dosara said the government was dismayed by “the callous act of terrorism meted to innocent people carrying out their legitimate businesses.”
He said the government had directed its Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs to as a matter of urgency mobilise to the affected communities and provide immediate assistance to the families of the victims.
The government also implored security agencies in the state to collaborate with one another to provide the needed security to the areas and across the state.
The government said it was deeply saddened by Wednesday’s attacks on some communities in Magami District of Gusau Local Government Area of the state, which claimed 51 lives.
The sole administrator of Bakura Local Government, Aminu Suleiman, had told reporters that more than 30 people were killed in Bakura and Maradun.
Suleiman said the deaths were recorded over days of reprisal attacks between members of outlawed vigilante groups and bandits.
The government condemned what it termed the act of terrorism targeted at law-abiding citizens who have been contributing to the development of the state in particular and the country in general.
The government regretted that the evil act happened while it was making efforts to ensure full return of peace and security in the state.
Security agencies, according to the statement, are directed to ensure strict compliance and are also directed to deal ruthlessly with anyone found violating law and order within and around the affected markets.
The Zamfara State Police Command, however denied that 90 people were killed during attacks by suspected bandits.
The spokesman of Zamfara State Police Command, Mohammed Shehu, put the number of deaths recorded from the attack on Wednesday at 25, saying that the security personnel responded swiftly to foil the activities of the gunmen.
“That number you are saying is outrageous. Nobody fled because the security agents responded promptly and neutralised many bandits,” Shehu said.
He also said that more than 30 bandits were killed in a village in Maradun Local Government Area.