Gunmen suspected to be bandits have killed 37 people in Dutsin Gari village, Kanoma district in the Maru Local Government Area of Zamfara State.
Residents told SaharaReporters that the armed men arrived at Dutsin Gari on motorbikes after blocking the community’s entry and exit points before unleashing terror on the defenceless residents on Wednesday.
The bandits also rustled several cows belonging to the villagers.
A resident of the community said about 37 bodies were recovered after the attack, with many others still missing.
“We recovered 37 bodies after the attack and many more residents have not been accounted for. They also stole many livestock and escaped to the forest,” he said.
“They came on motorcycles in large numbers and operated for close to 12 hours. They were shooting sporadically, shooting anyone on sight and burning houses.
“I heard that several shops were set ablaze in Fura Girke, Talle, Mahuta and Tudun Aba.”
SaharaReporters gathered that many residents have reportedly deserted the community because they are afraid that they more attacks may come.
Over the months, suspected bandits have continually attacked Zamfara communities, killing scores and abducting people for ransoms despite a peace agreement with the state government.
About 15 brand new Hilux vehicles and millions of naira were given to leaders of different 'repentant' bandit groups by Governor Bello Muhammad Matawalle as part of the agreement, a senior military officer told SaharaReporters.
He said the gunmen now carry out attacks with some of these vehicles given to them by Matawalle.
The officer said, “Those bandits have different group, so if they say they repent, the governor will give them a Hilux vehicle but unfortunately they are now using the vehicles to carry out attacks.
“It’s so sad, he called it peace and reconciliation programme, but all you need to be rich now in Zamfara is to take up arms against the people.”
A committee set up to investigate the menace of armed banditry in the region, headed by Mohammed Abubakar, a former Inspector General of Police, reported that in Zamfara State between June 2011 and May 2019, 4,983 women were widowed; 25,050 children were orphaned; and more than 190,000 people were displaced as a result of armed banditry.