Wave of Violence in Katsina: Gunmen Kill Over 50, Abduct Dozens in Deadly Raid

Eyewitnesses recounted how the gunmen, armed and riding motorcycles, swept into the village, firing indiscriminately and looting shops before abducting villagers. The attack continued into the early hours of Monday, leaving behind a trail of devastation

Katsina State, Nigeria – June 10, 2024 – In a brutal attack, gunmen on motorbikes stormed the village of Yargoje in Kankara, Katsina State, late Sunday, killing more than 50 people and abducting an unspecified number of residents.

The state commissioner for security affairs, Nasiru Babangida Mu’azu, confirmed the incident to BBC Hausa, describing it as one of the most harrowing assaults in the region this year.

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Residents of Yargoje were left reeling from the violence that turned their peaceful community into a battlefield.

Eyewitnesses recounted how the gunmen, armed and riding motorcycles, swept into the village, firing indiscriminately and looting shops before abducting villagers. The attack continued into the early hours of Monday, leaving behind a trail of devastation.

A Night of Terror

Abdullahi Yunusa Kankara, a resident who narrowly escaped the attack, described the scene as apocalyptic.Our town has turned into a death zone.

Almost every house in the village has fallen victim to this attack. More dead bodies were recovered this [Monday] morning,he told Reuters.

The air was thick with the scent of smoke and the cries of the wounded as survivors tried to come to terms with the scale of the tragedy.

“The people killed by bandits are more than 50, because some dead bodies are still being recovered from the bush,another resident, who wished to remain anonymous said.

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They killed children, women, and men, and kidnapped a huge amount of people. They injured more than 30 residents who are currently receiving treatment at the general hospital.”

A Community in Shock

The survivors are now grappling with the aftermath, trying to ascertain how many of their loved ones have been abducted.

The local hospital is overwhelmed with the injured, and families are desperately searching for missing members. The sense of loss and despair is palpable as the community mourns the dead and fears for the safety of those taken.

This attack is part of a disturbing trend of violence by armed gangs, known locally as bandits, that has plagued northwestern and central Nigeria.

These groups have been responsible for numerous kidnappings, murders, and lootings, operating with seeming impunity despite government assurances of enhanced security measures.

Government Response

Nasiru Babangida Mu’azu, speaking on behalf of the state government, expressed deep sorrow over the incident and promised that efforts were being intensified to rescue the abducted individuals and bring the perpetrators to justice.

The government is doing everything within its power to tackle this menace. We are working closely with security forces to ensure that these bandits are apprehended and that peace is restored in our communities,he said.

However, many residents remain skeptical, citing the frequency of such attacks and the apparent inability of the authorities to prevent them.

This is not the first time we’ve been attacked, and every time we are promised more security, but the bandits always come back,said a local farmer.We live in constant fear.”

Historical Context

Katsina State has seen several high-profile abductions and attacks in recent years. In December 2020, over 300 pupils were kidnapped from a boys’ secondary boarding school on the outskirts of Kankara by gunmen on motorcycles.

The pupils were later released after a week of negotiations with the kidnappers. More recently, in March 2024, dozens of passengers were kidnapped in a daylight attack in the same area.

These incidents highlight the growing insecurity in the region, which has been exacerbated by the complex interplay of poverty, corruption, and the proliferation of illegal arms.

The federal government, led by President Bola Tinubu, has pledged to prioritize security, but the persistent violence underscores the challenges faced by authorities.

The Broader Impact

The impact of such attacks extends beyond the immediate loss of life and property. They disrupt the social fabric of communities, hinder economic activities, and create a climate of fear and instability.

For many in Katsina and other affected states, daily life has become a precarious balance between hope and dread.

Human rights organizations have called for a more coordinated and robust response to the crisis, emphasizing the need for both immediate security measures and long-term strategies to address the root causes of banditry and violence.

These include economic development, education, and the strengthening of local governance structures.

International Attention

The international community has also expressed concern over the escalating violence in Nigeria. Humanitarian organizations are working to provide aid to affected communities, but access remains a significant challenge due to the insecurity.

The United Nations and other global bodies have urged the Nigerian government to enhance its efforts to protect civilians and ensure that those responsible for such atrocities are held accountable.

Conclusion

As Yargoje mourns its dead and hopes for the safe return of the abducted, the broader region watches with a mix of sympathy and trepidation.

The attack is a stark reminder of the fragile state of security in northwestern Nigeria and the urgent need for effective solutions.

For the residents of Kankara and beyond, the question remains: how many more must suffer before lasting peace is achieved?

The government’s response in the coming days and weeks will be critical in determining whether the cycle of violence can be broken. For now, the people of Yargoje must rely on their resilience and the hope that justice and peace will prevail.

 

This article was created using automation technology and was thoroughly edited and fact-checked by one of our editorial staff members

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