Terror bandits on Friday invaded the weekly market at Unguwan Lalle in Sabon Birni Local Government Area (LGA) of Sokoto State, Northwest Nigeria, killing at least 19 traders.
The survivors of the dastardly attack are currently receiving treatment at the General Hospital, Sabon Birni.
The Unguwan Lalle market, which is popular in the Eastern part of Sokoto State, is patronised by traders from different parts of the State including adjacent States like Zamfara, Kebbi and neighbouring Niger Republic.
It is not yet clear if it was a reprisal attack as there have been tension in the area since Yan Sakai, the outlawed vigilance group killed 11 men at Mamande’s weekly market on Thursday.
The community of Unguwan Lalle, which is located along Goronyo-Sabon Birni road, has suffered a series of bandits attacks in recent months.
Few months ago, five soldiers who were on a rescue mission to a community under attack in the area were ambushed and killed by bandits.
However, the identities of the victims of Friday market attack is still sketchy, sources said that two biological brothers who trade in hide and skin were among the dead.
“The two brothers came to the market from the city. We just buried them at Tudun Wada cemetery in Sokoto South local government area,” our source said.
Sources said that the attackers stormed the market shortly after all the traders had returned from the Juma’at congregational prayers, noting that “they came around 3pm, surrounded the market and started shooting sporadically. I counted about 19 bodies and many were still unaccounted for,” it said
The member representing Sabon Birni North in the Sokoto State House of Assembly, Aminu Almustapha Gobir, said the whole Sabon Birni was in a mourning state over the attack.
“Sabon Birni is under siege, this is what I have been telling you people and the government is not happy about it,” he said
Gobir, who witnessed the burial of the two brothers, noted that traders from different places were killed by the attackers.
However, the State government has blamed the traders for the attack because all rural markets in the eastern part of the state were banned as part of measures to curtail banditry.
The Commissioner for Carriers and Security Matters, Colonel Garba Moyi (rtd), stated told the Daily Trust that “the State government has suspended markets in some parts of the state experiencing Banditry because these are where bandits are getting their goods.
“But some communities are not complying with this temporary measure despite the fact that it was for their own good.”
He said there was a Task Force comprising security agents, Local Government chairmen and representatives of District Heads in each of the affected LGA.
“We will find out why they are not enforcing this order in their respective areas,” he said
Reacting to the Commissioner’s assertion, Gobir noted that, the executive order by the State government would not make any impact unless there was a serious military operation in the area.
Originally reported by Daily Trust