Kaduna — The death toll from the attack on villages in Manchok in Kaura LGA of Kaduna State yesterday rose to 119, locals and officials of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) said, even as residents said substances suspected to be chemicals were used in the attacks.
About 240 compounds were burnt in the attack while hundreds of people are camping at Bondom Model Primary School. About 40 gunmen armed with knives, guns and other sophisticated weapons invaded Ugwar Sankwai, Ungwar Gata and Chenshyi in Ungwar Kura village in Kaura LGA Friday, shooting and setting houses ablaze.
Residents said the gunmen went to the villages at about 10pm, killing and burning without any resistance until around 3am Saturday when they left 119 dead.
A resident, Marcus Ma'an, said: "The attackers used local bombs and chemicals in killing our people. 25 people were killed in my wife's family house. As you can see, these are villages that don't have access roads or electricity and one cannot justify the killings taking place here."
Ma'an who took our reporter round the three mass graves and the communities destroyed, said "The blood of innocent villagers will not go in vain. If you look at the injured persons in hospitals you will see how their bodies were peeled by the chemicals. The death toll has risen to 119 and we are still searching for others," Vice Chairman of the local government, Daniel Anyip said.
"From our records, in all the three villages attacked, only five houses are standing but we are still searching because some people are still missing. Houses that used to accommodate a lot of villagers are no more," Anyip added.
North-West Zonal officials of NEMA who visited the community said 119 corpses have been recovered and buried, Zonal Coordinator, Alhaji Musa Ilellah said while on an assessment tour and distribution of food items to the affected communities.
Ilellah said: "Government will do its best to assuage the sufferings of the displaced persons. What happened is unfortunate. People must learn to live in peace because there is no justification for this kind of killings." He handed over 200 bags of rice, 150 bags of maize, 30 bags of sugar, 200 cartons of Indomie noodles, 50 bags of powdered milk, 50 bags of Milo, and 50 bags of tea among other items to the communities. But residents said security, and not the relief materials, was their problem.
"Our people have been killed, houses burnt down, our food stolen. With this kind of killings, who will eat the food? As far as we are concerned, this is not what we need. We farm ourselves and for some people to burn our houses, kill our loves ones while relief materials are being sent is questionable. We can eat, food is not our problem," a villager cried aloud.