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26 killed in Kaduna, Edo, Osun attacks by bandits, other criminals

Twenty-six persons were killed and many others injured or abducted in attacks by bandits and other criminal elements as they continue their weekend rampage in parts of Kaduna, Edo and Osun States.

In Tungan-Maje, a suburb of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), six persons were also abducted in two separate operations by kidnappers.

And following a Saturday evening attack on Kutemeshi village in Kuyello district of Birnin Gwari Local Government Area of Kaduna State, 16 persons were buried by the community on Sunday amidst tears.

This followed another attack that claimed five lives in Kujeni village of Kajuru Local Government Area of the State.

In Edo, gunmen suspected to be cultists killed four persons in different attacks linked to rising hostilities between rival cult groups.

Cult clashes between members of Eiye and rival Black Axe confraternity groups since January 1 have reportedly claimed over 18 lives.

Violent conflict, which broke out between Ilobu and Erin-Osun towns Osun State on Saturday has claimed the life of at least one person, and declaration of curfew on Irepodun and Orolu Local Government Areas.

But the Kaduna State government is disputing the casualty figures of the Birnin Gwari area attack by bandits, saying that instead of the figures of 16 killed and 15 others injured in the weekend attack, the casualty figure is 14.

Residents said that in an attack that lasted over three hours with no assistance from security agents, gunmen invaded Kutemeshi, a village of about four kilometers to Sabuwa town in Katsina State around 5:30 pm on motorcycles with the Councillor representing Kuyello ward, Abdulrahman Yusuf, saying that 16 people were buried on Sunday while the injured had been conveyed to Kaduna city and Katsina State for medical attention.

He described the attack as unfortunate, saying that only the local vigilante had come to the assistance of the people during the attack.

“The people are in despair, they don’t know what to do and there is tension in the area. People are scared and worried that there may be another attack and they have nowhere to go to,” he told our correspondent.

Having participated in the burial, Yusuf said: “The burial started around 10 am and ended around 1 pm. 15 people were buried and then the corpse of a Fulani man who was killed by the bandits was discovered from a neighbouring ruga settlement but was buried separately. Among those injured, nine were critical and taken to Kaduna for treatment.”

He urged the state government to deploy security personnel to Kuyello and environs adding that: “We only depend on God and the local vigilante. The few mobile police here are not enough to protect the community,” he said.

In a statement released on Sunday, the Kaduna State Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan confirmed the attack on Kutemeshi and gave the names of the 14 persons he said were killed in the attack.

Those killed, according to him, were; Malan Sani Barume, Yahaya Bello, Amadu Dan Korau, Samaila Niga, Jamilu Haruna, Lawal Majiya and Dan Malam Rabo. Others include Dauda Kafinta, Hassan Mai Makani, Bashir Haruna, Lawal Ali, Mu’azu Haruna, Mai Unguwa Sa’adu and Harisu Bako.

Similarly, Aruwan said another attack on Kujeni village in Kajuru had claimed five lives and left several others with bullet wounds while several houses, food stores and warehouses loaded with building materials and a church were burnt.

“The following citizens were killed: Bulus Jatau, Hanatu Emmanuel, Bitrus Tuna, Yohanna Mika and Monday Ayuba while those injured include Bulus Sambayi and Godwin Yakubu,” he said.

He said Governor Nasir El-Rufai, who has been monitoring the security situation since Saturday morning expressed sadness over the attacks and condoled families that lost their loved ones.

And in Edo State, gunmen suspected to be cultists killed a tricycle operator simply identified as Tony, in Ohovbe community, Ikpoba-Okha Local Government Area of Edo State.

It was gathered that the victim was returning from school when he was shot dead by his assailant believed to be members of a rival cult group.

It was further gathered that the gunmen after shooting him dead, used machetes to inflict deep cuts on his remains while chanting cult songs, before leaving the scene.

The victim whose wife was delivered of a baby girl in January was shot dead at about 7.30 am on Friday.

In another attack on Shelle Bar, along the Third Circular Road by Esigie junction, a police constabulary and the owner of the bar were also reportedly shot dead.

It was learnt the armed police constabulary who was guarding the bar was sitting close to the bar owner when the gunmen in a Toyota Sienna car opened fire, killing them on the spot.

The owner of the bar brought the policeman in response to rising insecurity in the Benin metropolis.

A female passer-by, who was reportedly hit by a stray bullet from the Toyota Sienna car was said to have died on the spot.

When contacted, the State Police Command Public Relations officer, SP Chidi Nwanbuzor said he was yet to be briefed on the incidents.

Meanwhile, Osun State Governor, Adegboyega Oyetola, on Sunday imposed 24-hour curfew in Irepodun and Orolu Local Government Areas of the State, following the violence that broke out between Ilobu and Erin-Osun towns in which one person was killed.

The Secretary to the State Government, Prince Wole Oyebamiji, said the declaration of curfew became necessary to douse tension in the troubled area and that the curfew would subsist until further notice.

Many residents fled their towns as the communal clash between the two towns aggravated on Saturday.

Sources said that the two communities started fighting on Saturday over land tussle. A community leader in the area said the traditional rulers of the two towns had an altercation on the phone over the land on Saturday. Consequently, some youths from the two towns started fighting and shooting at themselves. One person was killed and several others sustained bullet injury.

The Police Public Relations Officer for Osun State Police Command, Yemisi Opalola confirmed the incident.

And the spate of kidnappings in the FCT continues as five people were abducted in two separate attacks in Tungan-Maje, Gwagwalada Area Council and Pegi, Kuje Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), respectively.

The Tungan-Maje abduction took place in the early hours of Sunday, taking a serving Nigeria Customs officer and three other residents hostage, with sources saying that the gunmen got into the Abuja suburb around 1:00 am from a nearby bush and started shooting sporadically, which woke many people up.

A resident, who didn’t want his name published, said two stand-out houses in Unguwar-Dankusa, the area where the attack was carried out, were robbed by the gunmen, who broke in by pulling down parts of the walls.

“Both the two houses were well protected with security wire and very sophisticated gates. “But yet, the gunmen changed their tactics by breaking into the houses by pulling down parts of walls,” the source explained.

It was gathered that members of the vigilante in the  community engaged the gunmen in a shootout for about two hours while the operation lasted, with the aim of scaring them off but the daredevil kidnappers accomplished their mission.

Efforts to speak to the Divisional Police Officer of Zuba, CSP Badewole Bola, were not successful, as he could not answer calls made to his contact by our reporter ahead of filing this report.

But a senior Police officer in the division has confirmed the incident, adding that the Police were patrolling the bush where the kidnappers have headed with their victims, in an effort to rescue them.

Also, gunmen on Friday night attacked Pegi, a community in the Kuje Area Council, which has been under series of attacks by kidnappers in the past one year. The kidnappers abducted one person and shot three others.

Sources said that the victims of the attack were ambushed by the gunmen on the lonely road to the community while on their way home around 8: 30pm.

The kidnappers tried stopping the cars they were in but couldn’t. Chairman Pegi Community Development Association (PECDA), Isaac Aderibigbe, confirmed the attack.

When contacted, the FCT Police Command Spokesperson, ASP Maryam Yusuf, forwarded a press release of which was earlier issued by the command on Saturday.

The statement indicated that the command had arrested six kidnappers and rescued two victims but the incident happened in Apo, Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) of the FCT.

First published in Daily Trust,

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