Following an assault by marauders believed to be armed bandits who killed over 35 people, locals in the Tangaza Local Government Area (LGA) of Sokoto State have fallen into grief, according to eyewitnesses.
According to locals, the bandits attacked three communities within the local government area — Raka, Raka Dutse and Filingawa — around evening time on Saturday.
However, the spokesman of the Sokoto State Police Command, Ahmad Rufai, in a statement on Monday, said 30 residents were killed.
Confirming Saturday’s attacks by armed bandits, the police said the affected communities were Raka, Bilingawa, Raka Dutse, Jaba, Dabagi, and Tsalewa villages all in Tangaza LGA.
“After vigilante members from Raka and Bilingawa went to Azam village to warn them, as a result, they ended up beating up some villagers who are predominantly Fulanis to stop attacking their villages.
“Consequently, the Fulanis called for assistance; unfortunately, the assistance came from armed men suspected to be bandits on board 20 motorcycles,” the statement added.
“On getting the information that assistance is coming from Azam, the vigilante withdrew to their various villages as such the bandits went after them and killed eight people in Raka, seven in Bilingawa, six in Jaba, four in Dabagi, three in Raka Dutse and two in Tsalewa villages. They set two vehicles and six huts ablaze while one Bajaj motorcycle strongly believed to be that of the bandits was recovered at the scene.”
‘Bandits Imposed Levies’
The immediate past chairman of the affected area, Bashar Kalenjeni, while confirming the attacks, said 18 persons were killed at Raka, 17 at Filingawa and two at Raka Dutse.
According to him, several of the deceased had not been buried as the bandits dispersed community members who attempted to conduct the rites.
The former council chairman said the attacks may not be unconnected with the refusal of the community members to pay levies imposed on their communities by the bandits.
“The bandits imposed levies on their communities and meant to take charge and dictate to residents what and what not to do,” Kalenjeni stated.
“But the villagers refused to succumb, and because of that, they attacked them, killing 37 persons while several others sustained various degrees of gunshot injuries and are currently receiving treatment in the General Hospital, Gwadabawa.”
He added that several others were unaccounted for as the area is still unsafe for fleeing residents to return.