Kaduna State government has confirmed the killing of 32 residents in Kajuru local government area of the state just as the government debunked reports of aerial attack by terrorists in the area.
The commissioner for internal security and home affairs, Samuel Aruwan, in a statement yesterday, explained that, the state government received initial reports from security agencies, that bandits attacked the villages of Dogon Noma, Ungwan Sarki and Ungwan Maikori in Kajuru local government area last Sunday.
Aruwan said, according to the reports, the bandits stormed the area in large numbers on motorcycles, and proceeded to raze several houses, as they attacked and killed locals.
He explained further that, since the attack on Sunday, security agencies and traditional leaders in the locations have been updating the government on the development.
“As of the time of this report, 32 persons have been confirmed dead following the attack. The deceased are listed as follows: Dogon Noma: Ahmadu Musa, Audu Dandaura, Akilu Laya, David Wasika, Hajatu Buhari, Nashon Buhari, Iliya Yaki Javan Mairabo, Jackson Adamu, Nasco Victor, Dutse Gwamna and Joshua Amadi.
The statement listed other victims as:”Gona Isah, Douglas Yakubu, Phineas Joel, Tanimu Umaru, Abody Iliya, Wanzami Halidu, Dogo Aweh, Sunday Shittu, Rejoice Audu, Jedidiah Ayawa, Jinkai Pius, Rebecca Ayafa, Ishaya John, Audu Danladi, Jibo Sule, Yakubu Garba, Williams Danbaba, Ungwan Sarki: Maikasa Kufana, Augustine Bahago. Ungwan Maikori:Mamiya Maikori”
The statement read, “While the government mourned the gruesome killing and burning of houses in the attacked locations, a report was published suggesting that the victims of the attack were killed by terrorists using a helicopter.
“The Kaduna State government wishes to make a clarification based on reports received since Sunday. The bandits attacked the first two locations and killed 31 citizens. They then headed into Ungwan Maikori, where they killed one person and burnt some houses.”
Aruwan explained further that an Air Force helicopter under Operation Whirl Punch dispatched to the area, had earlier scanned the first two locations and sighted burnt houses and properties on fire.
“The helicopter intercepted the bandits at the last location (Ungwan Maikori) and engaged them as they retreated, before the arrival of ground troops to the general area.
“It was the arrival of the air asset which deterred the bandits from further attacks on the citizens in the village, after the bandits had already killed one local and burnt several houses.
The story that a helicopter provided air support to the bandits against the locals, is therefore an untrue account” the statement said.
The statement added, “The government of Kaduna State having gone through all the facts, finds it regrettable that a section of media would circulate an unverified report, insensitive to its implications on national security, law and order.
“Eyewitnesses to the peddled report of a helicopter aiding bandits in the killing of innocent citizens are invited to present their accounts to the government backed by incontrovertible facts. The military, police and other agencies working in the general area deserve commendation and motivation, rather than demoralizing allegations.
“In the last 72 hours, security forces have conducted vigorous operations in the same general area, and are on the trail of a wounded notable terrorist.
“Similarly, several kidnapped victims, including an expatriate kidnapped at a mining site, were rescued after a fierce engagement with bandits.”
Governor Nasir El-Rufai, on receiving reports of the attack, expressed deep sadness and prayed for the repose of the victims’ souls.
The governor also conveyed his heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims.