…set village ablaze
Hundreds of gunmen yesterday invaded Ruwan Tofa village in Maru Local Government Area of Zamfara State and abducted over 60 women, mostly nursing mothers. The armed men also kidnapped the village head’s representative and set the village on fire.
A survivor of the attack, Habu Marina, said gunmen, who rode on motorcycles, invaded the village about 12:30a.m. while the whole community was asleep. Marina said the gunmen first surrounded the village and were shooting into the sky before some of them rode in and started shouting out an order for the villagers to come out with their hands up. He said: “We all complied and came out while children were crying for being interrupted as they were already asleep. The gunmen insisted that the nursing mothers must ‘silence’ their crying children or they would be permanently silenced by guns.
“There was nothing the nursing mothers could do to stop their children from crying. The leader of the gunmen said they initially came to abduct only men, but the failure to silence the crying children had changed their mission. He said they would now go with the women. “Later, they asked all of us to start moving towards the forest as many of them led on bikes while others followed at the back so that none of us would escape. But as soon as we started moving, I was lucky to escape. I took to my heels and disappeared between our market stall shops amidst shower of bullets.” Marina disclosed that the gunmen abducted over 60 women and a number of men after setting the village on fire. He added: “As they were going, I saw some of the bandits as they put almost half of the village on fire.”
The state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), SP Shehu Muhammad, confirmed the attack in a statement. He, however, disputed reports which claimed that 70 people were abducted while 40 others were killed by bandits during the attack. Though Muhammed did not give the exact figure of casualties, he only said that teams of ground and aerial surveillance had been deployed for bush combing with a view to rescuing the victims. He said: “The Zamfara State Police Command has received information about the attack on the village which occurred on 3rd March 2021. Our combined teams of ground and aerial surveillance are on extensive bush combing of the surrounding forests aimed at rescuing the victims suspected to have been kidnapped.”