Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto this Monday pleaded with visiting Army Chief for more ground troops in the state after a blistering attack left at least 30 traders and others dead there.
Lt. General Farouk Yahaya visited 24 hours after the traders and buyers were killed when bandits attacked a market in the eastern part of Sokoto State on Sunday.
The tragic event occurred at the Goronyo weekly Market in Goronyo Local Government Area of the state.
“We’re not sure of the (death toll) figure. But it is 30 something,” Sokoto government spokesman, Muhammad Bello, said in a statement.
Bandits raided another village market on October 8, in Sabon Birni district near the border with Niger, killing 19 people.
Since last month, Nigerian troops have been conducting air and ground operations on bandit camps in neighbouring Zamfara State.
Telecom services have also been shut down to disrupt communication between the gangs.
Officials in Sokoto are worried that bandits are relocating to the state as a result of those operations and network disruptions.
“We’re faced and bedeviled by many security challenges in our own area here, particularly banditry, kidnapping and other associated crimes,” wrote Bello, on behalf of the state governor.
Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, he said, had requested “the presence of more forces in the state and the deployment of more resources”.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has sent a tough warning to bandits, saying that “the clock of your ultimate destruction is ticking as you will no longer have a place to hide.”
According to a statement from his Office, President Buhari said that “the days of the bandits are indeed numbered because the military capabilities of our forces are being boosted by the acquisition and deployment of advanced equipment.”
According to the President, “the bandits are living in the fool’s paradise of invincibility, but reality will soon dawn on them harder than ever before.”
President Buhari added that “the bandits are currently under desperate pressures because of the intense and sustained air and ground operations against them in their hideouts by our security forces.
“The cowardly attacks on innocent people by the bandits show a rearguard action of criminals under pressure. But they will have no place to hide and our gallant security forces will not relent in the current offensive to defeat these callous enemies of humanity,” the President emphasized.
He appealed to all Nigerians “not to despair because this administration is determined more than ever before to protect Nigerians from murderous criminal gangs that have no respect for the sanctity human of life.”
The President extended his sympathy to the families of the victims of the Goronyo attack and called on the people to continue to be patient as the military strategises on how to deliver the crushing blow to these bandits.”
▪︎ Additional reports by AFP