Many people have been killed in a clash between vigilantes and bandits in Tsamiyar Jino village in Kankara Local Government Area of Katsina State.
While locals said 36 people were killed in the clash, the police said only 14 people died - seven bandits and seven members of the civilian JTF also known here as Yan Sakai (volunteers).
The clash, which took place Sunday, started when some vigilantes killed a suspected bandit identified as Baban Kusa at the village market.
"This prompted the bandits to storm the village and engage the CJTF in a fight during which many were killed," sources told Daily Trust.
The sources said 27 persons were killed at Unguwar Rabo, eight at Unguwar Sarkin Aiki and one at Centar Na Ade.
The village head of Tsamiyar Jino, Jaafaru Bello Jino, confirmed said he had received reports indicating that up to 36 people were feared killed.
He said the situation was disastrous, adding that corpses have littered at our farmlands.
"We are scared of going to retrieve the corpses for proper burial. We called the security personnel, but when they came and saw what was going on they just left without any information," he said.
However, the spokesman of the Katsina State Police Command, SP Gambo Isah, said the volunteers went into the forest to fight the bandits having refused to heed police advice " because of the bandits calibre of weapons and knowledge of the terrain".
"The bandits have evacuated their seven casualties into the forest," he added.
Police launch 'Operation Puff Adder' in Katsina
The Inspector General of Police Special Squad codenamed "Operation Puff Adder" was yesterday launched in Katsina State.
The state Commissioner of Police, Sanusi Buba, inaugurated the squad in Katsina yesterday.
"The Special Squad will be camped in three strategic locations to cover eight frontline local government areas of Katsina state with a mandate to identify, engage and arrest suspected bandits and also to respond to distress call within their locations.
"They will work closely and assiduously with leaders of the communities, specially reliable vigilante groups, leaders of thought, and well-meaning citizens in getting credible intelligence that will not only lead to the arrest of the bandits but the recovery of their operational weapons.
"We are appealing to the good people of Katsina State to provide us with credible and actionable intelligence that will assist us in carrying out this national assignment.
"It is absolutely imperative to warn that bad elements in the communities who assist the bandits materially or otherwise should desist or else they will be fished out and dealt with according to the law".
IGP embarks on the spot assessment
The acting Inspector General of Police (IGP) Muhammed Adamu has assured the people of North West and North Central that the Nigeria Police Force is working with the military and other security agencies to bring banditry attacks to a permanent end.
Police spokesman Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Frank Mba, who disclosed this in a statement yesterday, said the IGP gave this assurance at a Security Town Hall Meeting which took place at Government Science Secondary School, Birnin Gwari in Kaduna State.
He said the IGP addressed relevant stakeholders, including government functionaries, community heads, women leaders, etc. during an on-the-spot security assessment of the area."
Mba said the IGP, who commiserated with the people over the attacks, equally called for increased supports from the community for the security forces deployed in their area, noting that it is only through concerted efforts of all concerned stakeholders that victory over the armed bandits can be achieved.