No fewer than 50 persons were reportedly killed in Gwadabawa and Tangaza Local Government Areas of Sokoto State by bandits last weekend after locals refused to pay illegal levies imposed on them.
Sokoto Police Command PPRO, ASP Ahmad Rufa’i, who confirmed the attacks, on Sunday, assured the people that the command was on top of the situation and promised to give update on the attacks.
Hours after the attack on three communities in Tangaza council, corpses of 37 persons were yet to be buried. The communities attacked were Raka, Raka Dutse, and Filin Gawa.
The immediate chairman of Tangazaa, Bshar Kalenjeni, also confirmed the attacks, saying,18 persons were killed at Raka, 17 at Filin Gawa and two at Raka Dutse.
In his narration, Kalenjeni said, “The bandits sometimes impose levies on the communities to be paid within a stipulated time and also want to be dictating to the residents on what to do. The offence of the villagers was their refusal to pay the levies imposed on their communities and succumb to the bandits threat.
“Angered by the villagers bold face, the bandits struck Saturday evening, killing 37 persons while several others with various degrees of gunshot injuries are currently receiving treatment at General Hospital, Gwadabawa.
“We wanted to bury those killed in the night but the bandits came back and dispersed us. As at this morning, the deceased are still there, yet to be buried. As this moment I am talking to you, we are waiting for security operatives to lead us to the villages in order to bury the dead ones and comb the surrounding areas in search of those missing.”
A source in Gwadabawa said, “Some of the bandits were already in the town unknown to residents of the affected communities before others arrived in the evening to strike. The operation started after evening prayer, where they attacked the two most populous villages of Sakamaru and Bilingawa, simultaneously.
“In Bilingawa, not less than 18 people were killed with Sakamaru being the worst, where scores of people were slaughtered and others shot dead. After killing them, they set their corpses and that of their animals on fire by ensuring that most of them were burnt beyond recognition,” he said.
The Sokoto State Chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has, however, expressed sadness over the attacks.
Chairman of the party in the state, Alhaji Muhammadu Bello Aliyu Goronyo, condemned and described it as callous and dastardly.
Speaking through the party’s Publicity Secretary, Hassan Sahabi Sanyinnawal, he expressed dismay over the death of the helpless citizens during the attack.
The party also condoled families of the victims as well as the people of Gwadabawa and the state in general over the unfortunate incident.
The PDP also extended similar condolences to the people of Kware Local Government and Raka in Tangaza.