It must be an unfair season for the people of Bauchi State, as man and nature have seemingly conspired to keep inflicting disaster on them. About nine persons on Sunday night in Zango area, a suburb of Bauchi metropolis, were killed by unknown gunmen, who have unleashed terror on the state.
Seven persons were, however, luckier as they merely sustained gunshot injuries. They are presently receiving treatment at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Teaching Hospital, (ATBUTH), Bauchi.
But as if that was not tragedy enough, nature also unleashed its own calamity on the people of Zaki and Gamawa Local Government Areas of the state, where seven persons have been reportedly killed by flash flood.
The latest killing by unknown gunmen in Zango area, one of the flash points in the state capital which has witnessed several ethno- religious and communal clashes in recent years, has created fear among residents.
THISDAY observed that there was pandemonium in Bauchi township as residents scampered to safety following the sporadic gunshots that rent the air. Shops hurriedly shut down, business premises were closed immediately as residents hurried home to avoid being hit by stray bullets.
An eyewitness told THISDAY that "the attackers targeted the residence of one person where people used to assemble in the evening to play cards and gamble. They came in a tricycle (keke NAPEP) and started shooting sporadically, killing five people on the spot and injuring several people who were later taken to the hospital. Four others have also died between yesterday night and today."
The deceased victims are Ayuba Shehu, Freeman Lumi, Godiya Rimi, Ishaku Samson, Joseph Komo, Inna Zamba, Samuel Mutashi, Ishaya Jauro and Haruna Ayuba, while the survivors are Ajiya Kimsa, Yakubu Galibi, Ma'aji Sarauta, Balam Ishaku and Joshua Hassan.
The source said the gunmen were four in number, each carrying sophisticated weapons, adding that the attack had ethnic-cleansing undertone as the people attacked were from Sayawa chiefdom.
Kimsa, while speaking to journalists from his hospital bed, blamed the attack on "the present administration's insensitivity and insincerity in putting an end to the unending attacks targeted at the Sayawa people of Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area of the state."
He appealed to security agents in the state "to fish out the culprits and make them face the law of the land over their callous and satanic activities."
Bauchi State Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev. Lawi Pokti, described the attack as not only shocking and unbelievable but barbaric and unfortunate.
He urged the state Governor, Mallam Isa Yuguda, to fish out the perpetrators of the dastardly act immediately to justify people's confidence in his administration.
Yuguda described the attack as an act of terrorism, which his administration and others in the country are fighting hard to eradicate.
He condemned in strong terms the attack on innocent people at the Zango area of Bauchi metropolis.
Yuguda, who described the assailants as terrorists, assured the people that government would do everything possible to track them down and bring them to book because, according to him, "there is no way we will allow criminals and terrorists to continue to live among us terrorising innocent people. We must join hands to stop these heinous acts."
He added that the victims were targeted not because of their religion, tribe and or political affiliation, adding: "we must all come together to fight these evil men; they live among us and we must expose them at all cost; this wanton killing must stop now."
The governor, therefore, appealed to all those affected not to do anything that will aggravate the already tensed situation which may lead to the breakdown of law and order.
"Let us allow the security operatives to do their work and eventually track down the criminals. We should please avoid anything that will lead to the loss of more lives and disrupt the peace that we are enjoying in the state," he said.
He condoled with the families of all the deceased persons, praying God to give them the fortitude to bear the loss.
As at the time of filing this report, the state Commissioner of Police, Mohammed Ladan, is yet to address the media on the issue, neither has any arrest been made. But it was gathered that investigation has begun.
Speaking on the devastating flood that killed seven persons, the Caretaker Committee Chairman of Zaki and Gamawa Local Government Areas, Alhaji Muhammad Babaji and Alhaji Kabiru Garba respectively, while conducting the Deputy Governor of Bauchi State, Alhaji Sagir Saleh, round the affected places, called for the state government's assistance to reduce the suffering of the people.
They explained that the flood, which spanned over 35 kilometres, washed away farm lands, houses and cut off the road linking Sakwa to Zaki Local Government Area.
The chairmen said the flood was as a result of River Katagum overflowing its bank, and many displaced persons were resettled in some primary schools away from the flooding sites.
Residents of the area told reporters that the flood might have been caused by the releasing of water from a dam in the neighbouring Kano and Jigawa States.
Saleh commiserated with the victims on behalf of the government and expressed its readiness to assist them.
Saleh said the government had directed the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) to immediately send relief materials to the victims, adding that the government had sent a report to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) for quick intervention to all the affected local government areas.