An armed robbery attack has been foiled by operatives of the Nigeria Police Force in Zamfara State.
The standoff which took place on Sunday along Gusau-Sokoto Road, near Dogon Karfe in Bakura LGA, led to the killing of many bandits who engaged the police for about four hours.
According to a communique by state police spokesman SP Mohammed Shehu, the robbers planned to rob innocent commuters of their valuables but were valiantly repelled by police tactical operatives deployed to safeguard the road against any invasion by criminal elements.
Shehu disclosed that many bandits were fatally injured with some of them believed to have escaped with gun injuries. He further noted that the corpses of those killed have been properly taken care of.
The spokesman said the road is now cleared for motorists and other road users with rigorous confidence-building patrol being intensified to avert hitches.
Tactical operatives including special forces personnel are, however, still combing the surrounding forest to ensure that the fleeing assailants are either apprehended or neutralized.
At least 53 killed
Sunday’s foiled attack comes barely two days after at least 53 persons were killed in an attack by bandits on some villages in Zamfara State leading to the cancellation of activities lined up for the Democracy Day celebration in the state.
Scores of motorcycle-riding gunmen called bandits earlier on Thursday through Friday, invaded the villages of Kadawa, Kwata, Maduba, Ganda Samu, Saulawa and Askawa in the Zurmi district, shooting residents.
The gang attacked farmers in their fields and pursued others who fled to escape the assaults.
Zamfara police spokesman Mohammed Shehu said 14 bodies had been taken to the state capital Gusau on Friday, and added that “policemen deployed in the area following the attacks.”
Local residents said 39 more bodies had been recovered and buried in the neighbouring town of Dauran.
“We recovered 28 bodies yesterday and 11 more this morning from the villages and buried them here,” said Dauran resident Haruna Abdulkarim.
“It was dangerous to conduct the funeral there because the bandits are harbouring in the Zurmi forest and could return to attack the funeral,” said another resident, Musa Arzika who reported the same death toll.
Villages in the Zurmi district have been repeatedly raided by bandits, and local residents blocked a major highway last week, calling on the authorities to end the attacks.
In reaction to this, Governor Bello Matawalle suspended the Emir of Zurmi, Atiku Abubakar Muhammad.
The governor also cancelled all activities line up for the Democracy Day celebration and condemned the attack.
“People should remain calm and gentle, as well as go about their normal businesses. Security agents have been mobilised to the affected communities and directed to deal ruthlessly with anyone found disrupting the peace being enjoyed by our people.
“The government deemed it necessary to suspend all the activities lined up for the democracy day for now, until further notice,” the statement read in part.
The governor asked residents to use Democracy Day to reflect and continue to pray for the intervention of God Almighty, to restore lasting peace in our state, region, and the country in general.
Things Are Getting Worse By The Day
In his reaction to the tragic incident within Zurmi District, Governor Bello Matawalle on Saturday said the state of insecurity in the state is worsening at an alarming rate.
“I feel saddened by this unfortunate and barbaric act of cowardice,” he said. “With a heavy heart, I convey my condolences on behalf of my family and the entire people of the State over this massacre.
“In recent weeks, the act of banditry has reverted to the ugly dimensions it had prior to the coming of my administration. The marauders kill without regard for any rules of sanity. Women, the elderly, and children are not spared. As a result, a large number of people have been displaced in nearly every town in the State.
“My dear people of Zamfara people, you are witnesses to what we have accomplished from the beginning of our administration, particularly the peace and reconciliation efforts that we initiated and achieved. As a result, we have been able to shift our violent narratives to ones of optimism and peaceful coexistence.
“Unfortunately, things suddenly took a dramatic turn, and things are getting worse by the day. It is clear that some invincible hands are plotting evil against our people with the goal of making our State as terrifying as it were in the years gone by. My constant prayer is for Allah to reveal those who are perpetrating these cruel atrocities against our people,” Matawalle stated.
The Governor urged communities to defend themselves against the bandits while pledging his administration’s commitment to securing the state.