Gunmen kill 48 in Zamfara attack

By The Rainbow

An armed gang has raided Kizara in Zamfara State a and killed 48 people in an apparent reprisal attack targeting a local vigilante group, a state official said Wednesday.

The attack saw gunmen move house to house as well as take positions atop a hill and open fire, the official said. Houses were also burnt, but it was not clear how many.

It was learnt that the invaders, who perpetrated the massacre, arrived in the community before dawn on motorbikes.

The incident was confirmed by Zamfara State Government  government spokesman, Ibrahim Birnin-Magaji, on Wednesday.

The gunmen were said to have climbed a hill overlooking the village and opened fire indiscriminately on the residents before carrying out house-to-house attacks.

Birnin-Magaji said, 'There was an attack by armed bandits early Tuesday on Kizara where 48 residents were killed in apparent targeted killings by cattle rustlers that have been terrorising the state for some time now.'

Those killed, he added, included the local chief, chief imam and the head of a vigilance group in the village.

Eyewitnesses also reported that the gunmen arrived in Kizara before dawn on motorbikes.

Birnin-Magaji told AFP that the attackers took positions on a hill, before shooting indiscriminately.

He said, 'They later moved house to house, telling residents that they were looking for members of local vigilance (groups) whom they said had been disturbing them.'

The attack was attributed to an ongoing feud involving cattle thieves in the state.

The commissioner of police in the state, Akila Usman, confirmed the killings.

He, nonetheless, described the invaders as armed robbers.

A similar attack was said to have been carried out last year in the community.

Meanwhile, the Defence Headquarters on Wednesday said the Special Forces had  arrested eight of the terrorists that attacked residents of Borno and Yobe states last Saturday.

A statement by the Director, Defence Information, Brig.-Gen. Chris Olukolade, described the attack as 'a typical end-game strategy often employed by insurgents across the world.'

Olukolade said the attack was not a relapse in insurgency but an isolated incident.

According to him, the Special Forces have stepped up the mop-up, cordon and search operations to ensure that the vestiges of terrorism are effectively ended in the states.

He added, 'Rather, this trend of sneaking in to carry out isolated attack on soft targets as a way of seeking attention, is a typical end-game strategy often employed by insurgents all over the world; In this instance, the recent activities are signs of desperation of a decimated insurgent group attempting to hang on to public consciousness.'