Nigeria: Dozens killed in attack in Sokoto state
By Vatican News staff writer
At least 43 persons were killed in an attack by gunmen on Goronyo township in Nigeria’s Sokoto’s state, authorities said on Monday.
News reports say that the attack began at a weekly market in Goronyo Local Government Area on Sunday and continued into Monday morning.
In his reaction to the killings, Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari sent a message to the bandits, warning that their clock of ultimate destruction was ticking and they would no longer have a place to hide.
He stressed that the bandits are “currently under desperate pressure because of the intense and sustained air and ground operations against them in their hideouts by our security forces,” in a statement by his spokesperson, Garba Shehu.
“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,” Buhari said.
Sokoto state Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal had originally put the number of fatalities at about thirty people earlier on Monday during a meeting with Gen. Farouk Yahaya, the Chief of Army Staff. He later issued the latest figures after meeting with stakeholders from the affected community.
Tambuwal also condemned the attack on Goronyo village and stressed the need to review strategies of military operations in the zone to prevent a reoccurrence.
Insecurity in Nigeria
Gunmen, locally referred to as bandits across northwestern Nigeria have killed scores of people and have kidnapped dozens more for ransom in recent times, in an increasing security crisis has troubled the Nigerian government.
Earlier this month, on 8 October, another village market was raided in Sabon Birni district near the border with Niger. 19 people were killed in that attack.
Last month, at least 34 people were killed in an attack by bandits on the village of Madamai village in Kaura, Kaduna.
The Church has also not been spared in these attacks and kidnappings. There have been increasing reports of abductions of priests and members of the clergy. Recently, on 11 October, armed bandits attacked the Christ the King Major Seminary in the Catholic diocese of Kafanchan, Kaduna State and kidnapped three seminarians. They were later released after spending about 48 hours in the kidnappers’ den.
In several states in northern Nigeria, the government has adopted measures to hinder the activities of the bandits, including the regulation of transport by motorcycles which are the preferred means of transport by the bandits, communications blackouts and increased military presence.