Terror in Zamfara as Islamic terrorists kill 14 kidnap 60 civilians and 24 female students from university campus governor orders shoot to kill
Gunmen in Nigeria killed eight people on Sunday and abducted at least 60 others in two communities of northwest Zamfara state, residents and a local traditional leader said, two days after armed men broke down doors, shattered windows and abducted 24 female students from hostels of a university in the early hours of Friday, witnesses said, in the latest kidnapping to hit the state.
Godwin Mutkut General Officer Commanding 8 Division Sokoto and Theatre commander North West Operation Hadarin Daji
As they marched their victims away, the armed men also took a security guard and 10 construction workers who were sleeping in a makeshift shelter on the premises of Federal University Gusau, local officials said.
“The armed bandits arrived on motorcycles and started shooting sporadically, that’s when I woke up. They went to the girls’ hostels near the campus, breaking windows and doors and shouting for the students to come out,” said student Hussaini Abubakar, who lives in a nearby hostel.
The students were marched through bush country at the back of the university campus, which is not fenced, said Abubakar.
On Saturday Zamfara state governor Dauda Lawal issued a shoot to kill order to law enforcement officials and troops of Joint Operation Hadarin Daji on any illegal miner.
He justified the order in a statement by his spokesperson, Sulaiman Bala Idris, describing illegal mining as “destructive activity” arguing further that government “has to implement measures to protect the safety and well-being of the people.”
The statement said, “security operatives have been given strict orders to take bold action and shoot at sight anyone found engaging in illegal mining.
“The directive has become necessary to ensure the safety and security of the good people of Zamfara and deter potential wrongdoers from committing such acts.
“It is also designed to enable the government be in total control of state resources and block activities that endanger the lives and property of the people.
“Illegal mining is undeniably one of the driving forces behind the rampant banditry plaguing Zamfara State.
“We must take swift, decisive action to curb this menace and restore peace and security to our communities.”
Zamfara is a gold rich state.
Residents also said gunmen early on Sunday tried to attack a forward army base in a rural Magami community of Zamfara, but were repelled. Zamfara is one of the states worst affected by kidnappings for ransom by armed gangs known locally as bandits.
The gunmen in three groups attacked the army base and the communities of Magami and Kabasa, said a traditional leader who declined to be named for security reasons.
He said 60 people, mostly women and children, were kidnapped.
“The bandits rode many motorcycles with guns and other weapons (and) were shooting sporadically,” Shuaibu Haruna, a resident of Magami, told Reuters by telephone.
Four people were killed during the attack, said Haruna, who attended their burial.
Isa Mohd from Kabasa community said four people were also killed and dozens of others kidnapped.
Police and army did not respond to requests for comment.
Elsewhere, in the northeast of the country suspected Islamist insurgents ambushed a convoy of vehicles under military escort, killing two soldiers and four civilians, said a police source and a motorist who witnessed the attack.
The attackers set fire to five vehicles and drove off with one truck, the witness said.
Attacks in the northwest are part of widespread insecurity in Nigeria. Islamist fighters still carry out deadly attacks in the northeast, gangs and separatists attack security forces and government buildings in the southeast, and clashes involving farmers and herders continue to claim lives.
President Bola Tinubu is yet to spell out how he will tackle widespread insecurity. His economic reforms, including the removal of a costly fuel subsidy and freeing the Naira currency, have increased the cost of living, angering citizens.
Akowe with materials from Reuters/NAN