Within two days, terrorists have killed not less than 62 farmers and others in Borno and Katsina states raising fears that this year’s farming season will be jeopardised by farmers keeping away from farms for fear of the activities of the gunmen.
In Katsina on Tuesday, 12 farmers in Gakurdi village of Jibia Local Government Area were killed.
Not less than 50 are believed to have been killed by terrorists in Borno State between Sunday and Monday. Other reports said the men killed in Borno were not farmers, but metal scrap scavengers who were accused of stealing from the terrorists camp.
There were reports that the scavengers were given a slow painful death, haven been tied and slaughtered like animals with knives. The Police and other security forces have not spoken up, so it is not exactly clear if men on their farms were killed or it was scavengers.
One report said the terrorists had warned the metal scrap scavengers that though they were free to scavenge in their camps, they should not steal from then, as had been previously reported.
The dead were buried on Monday, it was gathered.
There are reports that many others in Rann, the headquarters of Kala-Balge Local Government Area of the troubled state sustained injuries, while others were searching for their family members who did not return home.
Three people sustained injuries during the Katsina attack.
Gakurdi is in Daddara ward and a few kilometres away from Daddara on the highway that links Katsina to Maradi in the Niger Republic.
A resident of Daddara, Bashir Salihu, said all the slain farmers were from Gakurdi and they were preparing their farms ahead of the rainy season.
“What I learnt is that the residents went to clear and prepare their farms for the start of the planting season, which is usually during the outset of the rainy season.
” The bandits went to the village on motorcycles and upon sighting the farmers, started shooting indiscriminately. I don’t know if they had planned to attack the farmers or the village,” he said.
He said some houses were also burnt down by the bandits after villagers fled.
Those killed have been buried this afternoon in the village.
When contacted, the police spokesman in the state, Gambo Isa, confirmed the attack.
He said eight gunmen on four motorcycles carried out the bloody attack.
“We were there with the CP (police commissioner) and attended the burial. What happened was that the bandits stormed the village this morning (Tuesday) and started shooting sporadically. The villages started running for their lives and all the 12 people killed were all shot in farms outside the community,” he said.
Mr Isa said some of the residents have guns but only a young boy stood his ground and shot back at the bandits.
Katsina is one of the states in Nigeria’s North-west region that have come under heavy attacks by gunmen. The bandits attack communities, rustle cattle and abduct travellers and students for ransom.
They also impose taxes and levies on communities before allowing them to farm or harvest the produce of their farms.
These bandits have been blamed for killing thousands of people. They have also abducted many more in what is shaping to become one of the worst kidnap-for-ransom syndicates in the history of the country.
The state governor, Aminu Masari, Monday afternoon, confessed that the people of the state have suffered immensely due to incessant bandits’ activities.
▪︎ Additional reports by Premium Times