By G9ija

A distraught President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday assured communities experiencing terror attacks in the north that their nightmare would soon be over with government intensifying its protection of all citizens.

The President spoke while reacting to the Wednesday to Thursday massacre of villagers in Zamfara State by fleeing bandits.

Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara State confirmed 58 deaths in the attacks and vowed yesterday that gunmen operating in the state would soon have to contend with the Super Tucano fighter jets procured from the USA as government seeks to shake off the latest massacre.

Buhari, in a statement issued by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, described the Zamfara killing as an act of desperation by a routed band of criminals currently under heavy military attack.

The president said that in keeping with his commitment to “tackle the monster of terrorism head on” government would not abandon any besieged community or other Nigerians 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,” he said.

President 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, President Buhari said that “the army and the 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 reign of terror, including illegal imposition of taxes on the communities under siege.”

And in a separate message to a national prayer session for the country in Kano organised by the Kano State Government, Buhari said Nigeria required divine intervention to end insecurity in the country.

Represented by the Minister of State for Agriculture, Mustapha Babai, the President said his administration has been making significant efforts to overcome the security challenges bedeviling the country.

“Despite the support, there is a need to seek divine intervention for the Almighty to bring an end to the challenges,” he said.

Matawalle vows deployment of Tucano jets against terrorists

Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara State vowed that gunmen operating in the state would soon have to contend with the Super Tucano figthers jets procured from the USA as government seeks to shake off last week’s massacre of close to 200 residents by gunmen.

Speaking yesterday on the Wednesday to Thursday carnage in 10 villages in Anka and Bukkuyum Local Government Areas of the state, Matawalle said the road was now clear for government to deploy the Tucano fighter jets against the gunmen after their formal categorization as terrorists.

“We have all been waiting for this declaration, and I am personally happy with this declaration because before our military were not able to use some equipment to fight these bandits but with this declaration, now they can be able to use any possible weapons to sweep out these criminals,” he said.

He added: “We have started discussing with the higher authority on the best way the Tucano will be deployed to Zamfara State so that all the grey areas are going to be cleared, Insha Allah.”

The governor who was on an inspection of the screening of new army recruits from all the 14 local government areas in the state said he had earlier met with the heads of security agencies in the state to strategise on how to restore peace to the state.

“You are going to hear the results very soon; maybe by Monday you will hear what we have done,” he said.

The terrorists who carried out the attacks were said to be fleeing from their enclaves in Fakai forest in Shinkafi Local Government Area following relentless strikes from Nigerian Air Force jets.

It was gathered that trouble started when members of local vigilance groups confronted the terrorists, who were moving in a large convoy with about 3000 cattle, apparently to Gando forest in the western part of the state.

Some of the gunmen were on motorcycles while others took care of the cattle suspected to have been rustled.

A gun duel soon ensued with the terrorists overpowering the vigilance group members.

They descended on Kurfa Danya, Barayar Zaki Tungar Isa, Rafin Gero, Tungar Isa communities in fury, destroying lives and property.

Locales blame the latest attacks on terror leader Shehu Bayade.

Survivors could not identify some of the victims as they were either burnt beyond recognition or decapitated.

Children and women were not spared.

Some of the terrorists were however killed in an encounter with soldiers on patrol on the Tsafe-Funtua Road on Friday.

The terrorists were said to be on their way to attack commuters on the road when the troops engaged them in a gun duel.

Police Commissioner Ayuba Elkanah said the command was still compiling the casualties figure.

Saraki condemns carnage, calls for peace to grow Nigeria’s economy

Former Senate President Bukola Saraki yesterday condemned the Zamfara carnage, saying his 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, in a statement, said: “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, Insha 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.”