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Robbers go berserk in Zamfara: Kill village head, 17 others


 A village head and 17 others were massacred in the early hours of yesterday at Kabaro settlement in Dansadau, Maru local government area of Zamfara state by motorcycle-riding gunmen. According to Peoples Daily, the gunmen, suspected to be highway robbers numbering about 30, wielded guns and other weapons. They descended on the village from different directions, shooting and ordering the villagers to stay indoors but keep money and other valuables within reach.

 An eye-witness, who preferred anonymity, said the village head, Alhaji Maiyara, pleaded with the attackers not to kill anybody but they ignored him.

 “They warned him to keep off but when he did not they killed him instantly because they felt distracted by his endless begging,” the eye witness said.

 “They fired shots from different directions and they killed whoever dared to escape and that was how they took several innocent lives,” Sani Abdullahi, a survivor said.

 Another survivor, Haruna Kabir said he heard gunshots from afar and sensing trouble, he took his wife and three children into the bush.

 “We had already escaped before they arrived. We dashed into the bush and hid. We could hear the screams of people from where we hid,’’ he said.

 The attackers struck at time when the villagers, all farmers, were harvesting farm produce and shortly after the Sallah celebrations, hoping to deprive the villagers of money and livestock.

 Yesterday’s attack came barely a fortnight after a similar attack left 22 people at the Dogon Dawa village in neighbouring Kaduna state.

 When contacted, the police public relations officer (PPRO, Zamfara state Command, DSP Hassan Talba declined to comment on the  killings but said an investigation was on-going over the banditry just as no arrest has so far been made.

 It would be recalled that early in the year, about 80 people on motorcycles, had attacked the villages of Dan-Gulbi and Guru in Zamfara state, cutting the throat of some victims.

 The attack is believed to be in revenge for the killing of a suspected group of armed robbers by villagers and vigilante groups last year.

 A policeman was said to be among the dead, who were primarily from the village of Dan-Gulbi.

 Villagers had been preparing for a local market day when the killers struck, the Associated Press news agency reports.

 According to a police officer who spoke to the BBC on condition of anonymity, at least 19 people died in Dan-Gulbi and four were killed in Guru.

 Attacks were also reported in the villages of Diya and Sabo Kasuwa.

 “They went door to door shooting villagers and in some cases slitting their throats with knives,” a police source told AFP news agency.

 Talatu Mai Tasshi, a woman who escaped the violence, was quoted by AP as saying she had hidden in empty sacks as the gunmen stalked other people preparing to sell their goods.

 In October last year, armed bandits raided Lingyado village in Zamfara state, killing 19 people in reprisals over the killing of fellow gang members by local vigilantes with the aid of villagers.

 In January, armed robbers killed 15 local traders returning from a market in neighboring Katsina state and burnt their bodies along with the truck they were driving in an ambush near the town of Birnin-Magaji in Zamfara state.

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