Death toll in Nigeria’s North West Katsina bandit attack hits 102

Wednesday February 08 2023
Nigerian army troops

Nigerian army troops who have renewed a crackdown on bandits and terrorists in Nigeria's North West states. PHOTO | COURTESY | NIGERIA DEFENCE HEADQUARTERS



At least 102 local vigilante group members and civilians have been killed by bandits that attacked some communities in Nigeria’s North West Katsina, the state where President Muhammadu Buhari hails from.

The rampaging bandits attacked the communities under Guga, Kakumi, Kandarawa and Jargaba wards of Bakori local government area and inflicted heavy casualty with initial figures put at 41.

Worried over the continuing audacity of bandits in North Central and North West Nigeria, President Buhari has ordered a crackdown on the terrorists.

The president condemned the attacks and said that the sacrifices of the brave vigilantes who have been working to prevent and punish crime in their communities will not be forgotten.

Convoy ambushed


He confirmed police reports that the bandits ambushed a convoy of the vigilantes in the forest as they went to recover stolen cows. 

"The president paid his tribute to all those vigilantes and family members who have been martyred today.’’ 

Mr Gambo Isah, the Katsina state police public relations officer, had reported the attacks which were carried out by bandits using AK-47 rifles. 

The attack has left the communities in great anguish and fear as many are still praying fervently for the return of their missing relatives.

One of the community leaders in Guga, Mr Mahadi Guga, confirmed the burial of 72 bodies retrieved from the bush.

"On a head count, 102 people were killed and we are still recovering corpses,” he said.

“We independently have about 102 people [who were killed] in our community, but the actual figure that people will tell you is 72, whom we have buried with our hands. There are those who are still missing.

Fear and tension

“We are now in great fear and tension since the incident happened. We are more vulnerable than ever. The government came and sympathised with us as usual and promised to investigate the matter,” he added.

The community leader further urged the government to protect lives and property of the people, especially those living in the rural areas.

He proposed that if need be, the government should dialogue with the bandits and the communities for lasting peace in the area.

The presidential candidate of ruling All Progressive Congress Bola Tinubu, who was in Katsina for a rally ahead of the February 25 election, declared a prayer session for the victims.

Tinubu sympathised with families of the victims, pledging to continue the fight against banditry until normalcy returns to the state and the country at large.

Commission an inquiry

The Katsina State Government has promised to commission an inquiry into the recent killings.

Mr Ibrahim Ahmed-Katsina, the special adviser to the governor of the state, said on Tuesday that the government would also assist families of the victims.

The spokesman of the state police command, Mr Gambo Isah, reported that some operations were ongoing in the affected areas and that an update would be provided later.

“As soon as I get the update from our operatives, I will get across to update you, but for the time being, an operation is ongoing in the area and we don’t have that update,” he said.

Authorities believe that Katsina and other parts of North West states are being attacked by foreign bandits.

No fewer than 2,322 people have been killed since 2022 in the area and a large number kidnapped for ransom.

The Defence headquarters in November 2022, reported that troops arrested five suspected foreign bandits during a routine patrol in Jiba local government area of Katsina state.