More details have emerged on the shocking massacre of over 30 residents by rampaging bandits in a market in Sokoto state.
The incident, which occurred on Sunday, October 17, has caused widespread outrage, including a strong reaction from President Muhammadu Buhari.
1st News reports that the bandits had stormed a popular weekly market in Goronyo Local Government Area; opening fire in every direction. The development had led to the death of about 30 persons, most of whom have been buried according to Islamic rites. The incident was also reported late due to the ongoing restriction of telecom services in the area, a measure targeted at disrupting the operations of the bandits.
Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, who condemned the incident in a statement, had blamed it on bandits who invaded the state from Zamfara.
Reports reveal that the bandits had surrounded and entered the market while it was full of buyers and sellers on Sunday evening. In shocking fashion, they had proceeded to open fire sporadically, spraying the crowd with bullets and causing pandemonium. While government sources put the death toll conservatively at about 30; sources and witnesses of the attack say more than 60 people were killed. They added that the Goronyo General Hospital mortuary had been filled with bodies in the immediate aftermath of the attack.
‘‘We’re not sure of the [death toll] figure. But it is 30 something. It was a market day and there were many traders,’’ spokesman of the Sokoto State government had told AFP.
But this was countered by a local resident and trader who witnessed the attack.
Iliyasu Abba told Reuters that there were 60 bodies at Goronyo General Hospital mortuary, while others sustained injuries while escaping.
‘‘The gunmen stormed the market as it was crowded with shoppers and traders. The men were shooting sporadically on us after they surrounded the market firing at every direction killing people,’’ he stated.
Further, the witness had added that the bandits initially overpowered police who tried to intervene.
Meanwhile, the attack has been confirmed by the Sokoto State Police Command. Police Public Relations Officer, Sanusi Abubakar revealed that investigations are ongoing; adding that the police are on the trail of the bandits.
However, he did n0t confirm reports that some operatives had been overpowered or possibly killed during the attack.
1st News reports that the North has witnessed a recent surge in the activities of armed bandits; many of whom operate in organized groups in forests across the region. The bandits have been known to embark on kidnappings for ransom as well as killings in the area. Recently, their activities took on a more worrisome tone when they were alleged to have shot down a Nigerian Air Force jet.