4 April 2014

Nigeria: Gunmen Kill 22, Burn Houses in Zamfara

Gusau — Gunmen early yesterday invaded Maitsaba village in Zurmi LGA of Zamfara State, killing at least 14 people. Witnesses said about 60 gunmen arrived on motorbikes, blocked all escape routes, firing at residents and saying they had come to retaliate the killing of one man suspected to be a cattle rustler by a mob some days ago.

It was gathered that eight people from neighbouring Birnin Tsaba village were also killed in the attack when they rushed to Maitsaba to offer help. The gunmen also set about 10 houses ablaze, including stockpiles of grains in the local silos and other valuables before they fled, challenging the vigilante members to "come out and fight like men". Chairman of Zurmi LGA Alhaji Abdullahi Muhammad Gurbin Bore who confirmed the attack said it was a reprisal.

'It is a retaliatory attack because some weeks back a man suspected to be rustler stole a camel from Maitsaba village, then youths mobilized and chased him to a village near Rukudawa where it was alleged that he kept the rustled camel and killed him and as I speak we have concluded the burial of 14 of them', he said.

A couple weeks ago, about thirty youths invaded a Fulani settlement in Zurmi and killed one herder suspected to be a cattle rustler. Authorities have been expressing concern over such action by the youth who vowed to rid the area of cattle rustlers. Yesterday's attack came after a similar raid left more than 20 dead in Tungar Rakumi village in Maru LGA of the state early this year. In August last year, nine vigilante members from Maitsaba village were killed when they went to help the people of neighbouring Tsanu village. In the past three years, over 200 people had been killed in deadly raids on Zamfara villages by gunmen who often said they were on vengeance against vigilantes.

Public Relations Officer of the state police command, DSP Lawal Abdullahi, said he was yet to get details of the attack from the DPO, promising to get back with details.

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