Over 140 locals allegedly killed by bandit kingpin, Bello Turji, and his men have been buried in Zamfara State.
This came to light on a day President Muhammadu Buhari condemned the killings.
The locals were said to have been shot and killed when Turji and his men were relocating from Shinkafi forests to another forest near Bukkuyum and Anka Local Government Areas.
Journalists were, last night, awaiting reaction from the authorities.
However, a local who survived said he saw 143 corpses recovered and buried after attacks on many villages on the bandits way in Anka and Bukuyyum Local Government Areas.
“ As military jets bombed them,the bandits hid inside communities and killed the unlucky ones; afterwards. They killed mostly the aged, children and women. They kidnaped women and even the married ones, “ the local said.
“The bandits also met some people on their farms and killed them.Some of the bodies were burnt.
“ In some villages, the bandits set houses on fire which affected women and children .After torching the houses, the bandits would stay outside and deny the victims escape.Some were shot when they rushed out.Burnt corpses were found and buried.
“The bandits rustled over 2,000 cattle and other domestic animals. Surviving victims are now taking refuge in local government headquarters and with relatives. They are hungry and thirsty.”
Reacting to reports of the large-scale killings, Buhari said in a statement: “The latest attacks on innocent people by the bandits is an act of desperation by mass murderers, now under relentless pressure from our military forces who are well equipped to effectively confront these enemies of humanity.
“In keeping with my commitment to tackle the monster of terrorism head on, let me reassure these besieged communities and other Nigerians that this government will not abandon them to their fate because we are more than ever determined to get rid of these outlaws.
“These criminals will be history because we are not going to relent in our current military operations to get rid of these thugs who have been terrorising innocent people.”
Buhari appealed to the affected communities for patience, saying “we are fiercely determined to smoke out and destroy these outlaws who have no regard for the sanctity of life.”
While extending his sympathy to the survivors and families of those killed, Buhari said: “The army and air force are working together to get rid of these callous criminals as they acquire more equipment to track down and eliminate criminal gangs that are subjecting innocent people to the reign of terror, including illegal imposition of taxes on the communities under siege.”
Saraki Condemns Carnage
A former Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, also condemned the carnage in Zamfara.
“My heart goes out to the families and communities that have experienced the tragic loss and injury of loved ones, the destruction of their property, and the interruption of their livelihoods,”Saraki said in a statement.
“Today, as we all mourn these terrible attacks in both Anka and Bukkuyum LGAs in Zamfara State, we owe the families and all other affected communities across the nation a brighter future.
“In January 2013, during the #SaveBagega lead poisoning crisis, I spent some time with the people of Anka LGA, Zamfara. There I met a determined and resilient community that worked hard to build a buoyant local economy.
“Today, that same vibrant community has become a place of carnage. My heart is heavy, and truly there’s anger too because we cannot continue like this. We must find long-lasting solutions to this insecurity. We will In sha Allah.
“I believe that this brighter future is possible because I have experienced firsthand the desire and enthusiasm that the people in Anka, Bukkuyum, and other similar communities have shown for a better life and a more secure future.
“It is my prayer that with lasting peace and determined leadership, a place like Anka can one day become one of the highest income per capita communities in Nigeria. However, for this to happen, we must be decisive, thorough, and relentless about securing the lives and property of all Nigerians.”