Gunmen Kill 77 In Zamfara, Maiduguri

By The Rainbow

About 50 people were killed yesterday in Kizara village of Tsafe local government area of Zamfara State by group of gunmen suspected to be cattle wrestlers.

The gunmen numbering about 150 and riding motorcycles besieged the village at about 4am, and suddenly opened fire on any adult community member on sight.

The gunmen also killed the village head, Mallam Lawali Madawaki, the chief Imam Mallam Liman Usman and the leader of the vigilante group.

Eyewitness, Yahaya Bale, said it was a reprisal attack following an earlier organised mission by the community vigilante group who chased the castle wrestlers to recover some animals they have stolen from the community.

He said the wresters had earlier been sending notice to the community that they will ambush them to encounter and break the persistent resistant against their nefarious activities, 'but every time they send the signal, they would fail to come' he added.

Yahaya further explained that it was in the early morning of Tuesday that the attackers besieged the village in large number, shooting only adult men, but sparing women and children, on the orders of their learders.

Another survivor, Halilu Kizara, blamed the complete or near-absence of the police or any security drafted in the village to maintain social security, except only one policeman who is in charge of the outpost in the community with over 5,000 people.

Confirming the incident, the Commissioner of Police Zamfara State Command, Mr. Akila Usman Gwary, who spoke to journalists said however that the official number of casualties is 32, but gave assurance that his command has drafted team of policemen to maintain law and order in the area.

The development came just as rsidents of Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, said suspected members of Boko Haram on Monday killed 22 persons in separate attacks. They said the terrorists were on a revenge mission against youth vigilante groups that have been hunting them.

According to the residents, the gunmen attacked a secondary school, Ansarudeen Private School, Maiduguri at about 3pm, and opened fire on students writing their final year exams. Nine students were killed, while several others were seriously injured in the attack.

The incident occured less than 24 hours after gunmen attacked a school in neighbouring Yobe State, killing seven students and two teachers. Borno and Yobe, alongside Adamawa, are under emergency rule with a massive deployment of soldiers to the states.

In another incident in Borno on Monday, the gunmen attacked a group of fishermen on the banks of the Alau River, on the outskirts of Maiduguri, killing 13 of them.

Some of the witness who were spared by the attackers said most of those killed at the river bank were relatives of the youth vigilante group currently hunting Boko Haram members.

'I was lucky to be left out because I am not a resident of Gwange or Hausari where the Civilian-JTF (the youth vigilante) came from,' said a fisherman, who pleaded anonymity for security reasons.

A resident of Bulumkutu in Maiduguri, Inuwa Umoru, said a prominent fish merchant, Garba Garus, was among the 13 killed.

'We were busy fishing at Alau River when suddenly a gang of gunmen appeared from nowhere, rounded us up and asked all those who are residents of Husari and Gwange to fall on one side. After sorting us out, they said, 'Your children brought this fate upon you; they are busy catching our members and handing them to soldiers to be killed.

'They then shot them dead and asked the remaining of us to run for our lives and take the message to the youth vigilante,' he narrated.

A top security official in the state, who pleaded anonymity, confirmed the attacks but declined further comments on the number of casualties.

But the youth vigilante have been commended by President Goodluck Jonathan and the military for helping in the battle against the terrorists.

The JTF spokesman in Borno, Sagir Musa, could not be reached on telephone for official reactions to the incidents.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Boko Haram, Abu Zinnira, has said his group will launch a manhunt for youth in Borno and Yobe states who partake in vigilante activities to identify and arrest members of the terrorist group.

Some youth in both states have formed vigilante groups to assist the military to identify and arrest the terrorists in the towns. Their activities have been commended by the presidency and the military; but has now put them in a battle with the terrorists.

Abu Zinnira said his group is also waging a bloody war against the government of Borno and Yobe states in reaction to the massive arrest of their members by youth in the states.

The terrorists' spokesman, stated these in a statement written in Hausa and emailed to journalists.

He added that they are waging a war against Nigeria in order to establish a Sharia legal system. He said while they maintain their hostility against the police, soldiers, politicians and other symbols of authority, they have now added the youth in these states to their kill-list.

'We have established that the youth in Borno and Yobe states are now against our course. They have connived with security operatives and are actively supporting the government of Nigeria in its war against us. We have also resolved to fight back,' he said.

Some members of the youth groups, who did not want their identity disclosed for security reasons, have also vowed to continue their fight against the Boko Haram insurgents in Maiduguri, saying that they will not be deterred from carrying out their mission and there will be no going back.

Borno and Yobe, as well as Adamawa, are under emergency rule with heavy deployment of soldiers by the federal government. This has, however, not stopped the terrorists who have killed dozens of people in separate attacks in the states.