5 passengers have been reported killed and three others severely wounded after bandits opened fire on a vehicle on the Yan Tumaki – Danmusa road in Katsina State, early Saturday morning.
“The bandits sighted the vehicle and tried to stop it but the driver refused to stop, which made the bandits to start firing at them,” a resident of the area said while getting the report.
Danmusa Local Government Area is one of the most vulnerable areas in Katsina, sharing boundaries with the dreaded Rugu forest and areas like Safana, Kankara and other communities in Zamfara State where bandits are very much active.
A witness, who only gave his name as Musa, told PREMIUM TIMES that the passengers were mostly coming from Benin in Edo State while one was coming back from the Federal Capital Territory (Abuja) where he had gone to supply chickens.
He said the passengers were indigenes of Gobirawa and Kaigar Malamai in Katsina.
“The vehicle, a Golf, left Yantumaki for Danmusa town in the morning. The passengers spent the night in Yantumaki because they arrived there in the night. In the morning, they boarded the vehicle for Danmusa town from where they would take motorcycles back to their villages.
“But the vehicle was attacked a few minutes after leaving Yantumaki. What happened was that the bandits sighted the vehicle and tried to stop it but the driver refused to stop, which made the bandits start firing at them. The vehicle somersaulted and hit a tree,” he said.
Mr Musa said the bandits fled when the accident occurred.
“Good Samaritans alerted the police division in Danmusa and they came up to picked the dead bodies and took the three wounded persons to hospital. We have since buried the dead while the remaining three persons are still receiving medical attention,” Mr Musa added.
Reason for attack
Another source, who resides in the same area but does not want to be named, said the bandits were intensifying attacks probably to avenge security agents’ onslaught against them.
“Even the killing of the passengers is said to be because the bandits were angry because policemen and soldiers stopped them from rustling a large herd of cattle last Thursday.
“The bandits had succeeded in rustling the cattle but a security joint force intercepted and retrieved the cattle from the bandits. Some of the bandits were also killed in the process of this,” he said.
He noted that a bandits’ camp was recently burnt down by the police division in the area which might also have infuriated the gunmen.
Mr Musa also confirmed the cattle retrieval story and said it could be the reason for the “merciless attack.”
He said security agents in the area have been trying their best but the bandits outnumber them.
Though the Katsina police command spokesperson, Gambo Isa, did not confirm the killing of the passengers, he confirmed that the police were carrying out attacks on bandits in Danmusa and other areas in the state.
In a statement, Mr Isa confirmed the burning down of suspected bandits’ hideouts in Yellawa, Hakin Biri in Danmusa’s local government area.
“On 5th March, 2022, at about 1800hrs, the Command carried out sting operations and raided suspected terrorists’ hideout at Yellawa, Hakin-Biri, Danmusa LGA and Na-Iraqi notorious bandit camps at Safana LGA. The team successfully burnt down the camps, recovered two operational motorcycles of the terrorists and recovered ninety-two (92) cows and thirty-two (32) sheep,” he said
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