Survivors of Tuesday’s terrorists’ attack on Rafin Danya, Barayar Zaki, Rafin Gero and Kurfa villages in Zamfara State have recounted their ordeal.
The bandits, in their large numbers, were said to be fleeing from Zamfara State as a result of ongoing military operations, when they invaded the villages in the Anka and Bukkuyum local government areas of the state.
According to survivors of the attacks, the terrorists killed over 200 villagers and set many houses ablaze, forcing scores of villagers, who managed to escape, to flee and remain missing.
A survivor, who gave his name as Mohammed Kurfa, said trouble started when vigilantes in the villages tried to confront the terrorists, who have been designated terrorists who were fleeing Zamfara State with cattle numbering not less than 3,000.
According to Kurfa, the vigilantes engaged the terrorists in a gun battle, leading to the invasion.
Another survivor and resident of Bukkuyum, Abubakar Ahmed, who spoke to The Associated Press, said the attack, which started on Tuesday went on till Thursday.
Corroborating Ahmed, another survivor and resident of Anka Aliyu Anka, stated, “They killed people from 20 years and above.
“Some have been buried, some were burnt and we are still looking for bodies.”
But another survivor, Mallam Mohammed Sani, told Saturday PUNCH that the terrorists were still around and refused to allow families of the affected people to bury their dead.
“We made several attempts to evacuate the dead bodies for burial but due to the presence of the bandits who have invaded the areas, we could not go,” Said Sani.
Sani lamented that there were no presence of security operatives in the affected villages, making the villagers to continue to flee their homes.
When contacted on Friday, the State Commissioner of Police Commissioner, Ayuba Elkana, told newsmen that he was compiling the number of those who were killed during the attack.
Commenting on the inability of the villagers to evacuate and bury their dead, Elkana said it was dangerous to go to those areas due to heavy presence of the terrorists who he confirmed were in large numbers.
“Nobody will risk his life to go to those areas because the bandits are there in large numbers,” he said.
Also, the Commissioner for Information, Zamfara State, Ibrahim Dosara, told AP that government was awaiting more information about the incident, including the number of casualties.
He disclosed that a military aircraft had been deployed along with security forces as a manhunt for the attackers continued.
Dosara, however, blamed informants for the persistent attacks.
“One of the serious problems is that we have a lot of informants getting information to these people (the terrorists. The moment you strategise, the moment the enemies also strategise”
Terrorists have held Zamfara and other North-West states by the jugular, killing, maiming, kidnapping for ransom and rendering hundreds homeless in relentless attacks.
As part of measures to tackle the problem, Zamfara in September adopted some drastic measures, including the shutdown of telecommunication services, while military attacks were unleashed against the terrorists.
The Federal Government, in November last year, obtained a court order to declare bandits as terrorists so that full military might could be deployed against them.
With the designation of the bandits as terrorists, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), on Tuesday, said the Federal Government was ready to deploy Super Tucano fighter jets against bandits.
The military had been reluctant to deploy the aircraft outside the North-East because of the conditions attached to the sale of the aircraft by the United States, which was anchored on human rights.
But the AGF said on Tuesday that the coast had become clear to deploy the Super Tucano aircraft against bandits in the North-West and North-Central, following the court order declaring them as terrorists.
Meanwhile, Nigerians have called for improvement in security in the region.
On Twitter, Umar Yahaya, said, “What we needed in Zamfara at the moment is coordination and sincere commitment from the side of the state government.