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Bandits intensify strikes as security chiefs brief Buhari

By Saxone Akhaine, Abdulganiyu Alabi (Kaduna), Segun Olaniyi and Kanayo Umeh (Abuja)
04 June 2020   |   4:33 am
The nation yesterday woke up, yet again, to the news of killings by bandits, this time in Kaduna State.

President Muhammadu Buhari (right) and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo during the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting at the State House,<br />Abuja…yesterday. PHOTO: PHILIP OJISUA

• Fresh attack kills nine in Kaduna community
• ‘Police need reforms, restructuring, not reorganisation’
• Troops hit top Boko Haram militants, 72 others

The nation yesterday woke up, yet again, to the news of killings by bandits, this time in Kaduna State.

Barely a week ago, gunmen had stormed five villages in Sabon Birni Local Government Area of Sokoto State, massacring 72 persons.

The incident, according to Lawal Kakale-Gobir, a resident of Sabon Birni, lasted hours as hundreds of bandits riding on motorcycles raided the place.

“Twenty-five bodies were recovered in Garki village; 13 in Dan’Adua; 25 in Kuzari; six in Katuma; and five in Masawa village. It is surprising that this happened after the governor and his entourage visited the place and made various promises that such an incident would not reoccur,” Kakale-Gobir said.

Gunmen at about 5:00 a.m. yesterday invaded Tudu village in Agwala Dutse in the Kajuru Local Government Area of Kaduna State, killing nine persons and wounding several others.

The incident followed the recent attack on some Kajuru communities in the state with the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU) claiming about 60 persons remain missing.

“We have once again been set back in our confidence building effort and peace engagements after Tudu village in Agwala Dutse area was attacked this morning. It is confirmed that nine lives were lost in the attack. A detailed inventory of casualties is being taken. My heart goes out to all the families affected. May God grant the souls of the victims eternal rest,” said Kajuru Council Chairman Mr. Cafra Caino.

A source, which also confirmed the incident, said the gunmen stormed the village and began shooting sporadically at about 5:00 a.m. as the residents scampered for their lives.

“Yes, there was an attack on Tudu village in Agwala Dutse at about 5:00 a.m. today (Wednesday). Several people were killed and several others sustained injuries.”

The Kaduna Police command is yet to confirm the attack.

Reacting, a civil rights activist and former senator, Shehu Sani, took to Twitter, saying: “The fresh killings in Kajuru LG, Kaduna State, reflects the failure of all remedies and measures previously applied towards solving the crisis. Enough of these gruesome killings! The state,Federal Government, and our security agencies must urgently rise and end this senseless bloodshed by terror groups.”

Condemning the attack, the spokesman for SOKAPU, Luka Biniyat, in a statement said: “Around 5:00 a.m. this morning, armed Fulani militia, sneaked into Agwalla Magayaki and Tudun Agwalla in Idon Ward, Kajuru LGA in Southern Kaduna, burning down homes, looting, and leaving behind nine corpses.

“The villagers told us that some of the attackers were well-known Fulani youths raised in their communities and went on to even call their names. We condemned in no small terms the continuous mass murders of our people and the destruction of our communities by Fulani militia.”

He noted: “War is being waged against our people and the Nigerian government pretends that nothing is going on. We are facing a huge humanitarian crisis. We are therefore, once more, calling for the assistance and intervention of the United Nations, African Union, the International Criminal Court, Amnesty International, all men and women of good conscience.”

Biniyat also alleged that following a previous incident, Caino had issued a statement, which he (Biniyat) alleged was responsible for yesterday’s assault.”

The attack came as President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday presided over the third virtual meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) and was briefed by several ministries including that of defence.

The News Agency on Nigeria (NAN) reported that the Ministry of Defence was expected to present a special documentary on efforts by the military in tackling security challenges in the country.

Participants at the session included Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Secretary to Government of the Federation Boss Mustapha, and Chief of Staff to the President Ibrahim Gambari.

Reacting on the nation’s poor security architecture, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), yesterday described the reported reorganisation of the Nigeria Police Force as cosmetic and deceptive.

It said there was an absence of political will on the part of the Federal Government and the National Assembly to implement strong constitutional reforms of the police.

“The recently unveiled so-called major reorganisation of the Nigeria Police Force as approved by the president, in which additional zones were carved out from existing ones and some top-flight police officers were re-assigned to head these newly upgraded policing centres, is only a mere scratch on the huge operational and personnel incapacitation of the institution. It has outlived its usefulness and requires a much more fundamental restructuring and reform to bring it in tune with twenty-first century global best practices.”

In a statement by the National Coordinator Emmanuel Onwubiko and National Media Affairs Director Zainab Yusuf, the group said: “The way out is to decentralise the command and control platforms of the Nigeria Police Force by creating state and local policing institutions to complement the national policing infrastructure.

“The state and local police should be autonomous on operational mechanisms and must be staffed by the most competent professionals. These newly legislated policing platforms should be well equipped and supervised efficiently, to discharge their mandate of protecting the life and property of citizens in their areas of jurisdiction.”

Meanwhile, the military yesterday said troops of Operation Lafiya Dole killed high ranking commanders of the Abubakar Shekau faction of Boko Haram and 72 others, following a failed attack on personnel at Banki junction.

“The BHT/ISWAP commanders that were killed include Manzar Halid, Amir Abu Fatima and Nicap. Additionally, 72 members of the sect were also neutralised. Others wounded with narrow chances of survival include some high-profile commanders and fighters such as Abu Jamratu AL-Naweer, Kaka Bana and Tareta Babakari,” said a statement by Coordinator Defence Media Operations, Major General John Enenche.

The statement added: “Equally, a large number of their equipment including gun trucks, motorcycles and bicycles were destroyed by troops in collaboration with the Air Task Force during the BHT/ISWAP fighters withdrawal, which was in disarray. Credible information indicate that the BHT/ISWAP camp is in chaos and presently unable to conduct any offensive due to heavy losses.”