The death toll in an attack by terrorists in Kankara local government area of Katsina State has risen to 102.
Those killed, including members of the local vigilante, are from communities under Guga, Kakumi, Kandarawa and Jargaba wards of Bakori local government area, one of the areas worst hit by the gory activities of terrorists in the state.
Already, the bloody attack that claimed scores of lives has left the communities in great anguish and fear since, as many are still praying fervently for the return of their missing loved once.
The community leader of Guga, Mahadi Guga, who confirmed the burial of 72 bodies retrieved from the bush, told LEADERSHIP that the attack claimed about 102 lives.
Guga said, “We independently have about 102 numbers of people that were affected in our community, but the actual figure that people will tell you is 72, which we have buried with our hands. There are those who are still missing.
“We are now in great fear and tension since the incident happened. We are more vulnerable than ever. The government came and sympathised with us as usual and promised to investigate the matter”.
The community leader further urged the government to rise to its responsibility of protecting lives and property of the people, especially those living in the rural area.
He proposed that if need be, the government should dialogue with the bandits and the communities for lasting peace in the area.
Since the Katsina Police Command confirmed the death of 41 there has not been any further update on the attack despite efforts made to get the police spokesman, Gambo Isah, to speak.
A state government delegation led by the secretary to the state government, Muntali Lawal, visited the affected communities and condole with the families of the victims and their community leaders over the ugly incident
The delegation also visited some affected villages and assured the families of the state government’s commitment to conduct a thorough investigation on the matter.
It also promised to set up a committee, with two representatives from each of the affected communities, to work out plans on how relief materials would be distributed to families of the victims.
Meanwhile, at the presidential rally of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in Katsina, a prayer section was observed for the deceased persons who lost their lives in the clash.
Both President Muhammadu Buhari and APC presidential candidate, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, commiserated with families of the victims, assuring to continue the fight against banditry until normalcy returns to the state and country at large.
The presidential campaign rally of the APC in Katsina State yesterday turned into a prayer session following the attacks on Bakori local government area of the state by bandits in which over 40 vigilantes were killed.
The road show and programmes to mark the rally were canceled, the number of participants at the rally was scaled down, and the campaign rally was conducted in a sober atmosphere at the Muhammadu Dikko Stadium.
The APC presidential candidate, Bola Ahmed Tinubu; Katsina State governor, Aminu Bello Masari, and chairman of Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF) and Kebbi State governor, Atiku Bagudu, told supporters at the rally ground that there were still pondering whether to postpone the rally outright or not in view of the mournful atmosphere.
“We decided to go on because some people are already here and it will be disappointing for them to come without getting to see the President and Asiwaju. But we are here to condole with you. We will be back,” said Governor Bagudu.
Speaking at the rally, President Muhammadu Buhari said despite inheriting a poorly managed country, his administration has done well in turning the fortunes of the party.
He condoled with the people of Katsina over the banditry attack, urging them to remain courageous and hopeful in order to defeat terror.
On his part, Tinubu saluted those who summoned courage to attend the rally in spite of the sorrowful situation, as he expressed condolences to the government and people of Katsina State.
He assured the Katsina electorate of working hard to eliminate banditry in the state.
“We will definitely deal with them. They will not go scot-free. Whether they derive some moment of joy or satisfaction, we are saying we are courageous, we are strong, we believe in Allah and we will defeat them. They are evil. We will eliminate them,” he said.
Tinubu also gave kudos to members of security establishments, assuring them that their sacrifice would be rewarded.
He charged participants not to allow what he called the “Poverty Development Party” to come back to power. “No to PDP, no to evil, no to killers,” he chanted along with the crowd.
Also, Katsina State governor, Masari, warned Nigerians not to trust PDP with power again.
“They had the opportunity. They didn’t do anything meaningful and now they want to deceive. Don’t fall for their sugar-coated words,” he said.
The governor said the APC was committed to rebuilding all that the PDP had destroyed.
Governor Masari who called for special prayers for repose of the souls of slain indigenes, more recently some vigilantes, thanked the APC presidential candidate for donating N100,000,000 (Hundred million naira) to the families of all those who were affected by the attacks.
“Leadership is not a joke. We should pray and support our leaders. The choice before us in the forthcoming elections is between light and darkness. We have a choice to move our state, and nation, or take it backwards.
“Separate yourselves from liars and jokers. We have seen this people and we know them; they gather people and deceive them. We would not be dealing with Boko Haram and bandits today if they had provided the right leadership in the past,’’ Masari said.
The APC national chairman, Abdullahi Adamu and Director-General of the APC Presidential Campaign Council, Plateau State Governor Simon Lalong urged the Katsina electorate to queue behind President Buhari to support the APC presidential candidate and other candidates.
Adamu said the party would continue on the path of patience and steadfastness in growing the state and the nation.
“We are, indeed, in very peculiar times. We are facing many challenges that require wisdom, patience and steadfastness to overcome,’’ he added.