In response to the challenge thrown at them by the Nigeria Air Force, traditional rulers in Zamfara have released the names of eleven innocent civilians that it said were killed by a NAF fighter jet and a helicopter gunship which launched airstrikes on a rural community last week.
The emirs, under the aegis of Zamfara State Council of Chiefs, had alleged that the air strikes killed innocent civilians in Mutu in the Tsafe Local Government Area, Tangaram in the Anka Local Government Area and Dumburum in the Zurmi Local Government Area, without even hitting the target but NAF insisted that it hit bandits logitics bases in Ajia in Birnin Magaji Local Government Area and killed many bandits in other parts of the state. It challenged the traditional rulers to name those civilians killed. The attacks took place on April 9, 2019.
Taking up the challenge, the Zamfara State Council of Chiefs released the following 11 names of innocent villagers killed in the raid:
- Mai Daji Barau
- Na Dumburum,
- Suwaiba Alka
- Yar Guru Na Dumburum
- Maryam Shafiu
- Dahe Malan Sule
- Buhari Dan Kurma
- Zaliha na Dumburum
- Aisha Akilu
- Alamin Alka
- Fati ‘Yar Gum
According to the chiefs, another eleven innocent people sustained injuries from shrapnel in the attack.
Those listed to have sustained injuries are:
- Haruna Kusu
- Muhammad M Sani
- AbdulRazak Abubakar
- Yakubu Yunusa
- Dan Diyya
- Sa’a Dayyabu
- Yar’wargi Mamman
- Gwamna na Dumburum
- Rashida Alka
- Maryam Akilu
- Sadiq Sukuranu
The traditional rulers also named 20 people whose houses were destroyed in the incident.
At a briefing in Gusau yesterday, the State Council of Chiefs, represented by the Sarkin Fulanin [Emir of] Bungudu Alhaji Hassan Attahiru, said: “We had a meeting with the Executive Governor and we provided secret information on the suspected armed bandits, kidnappers and their informants and even those doing business with them.
“We suggested that civilian joint task force members should be recruited. How come that somebody would just come out and say we have not being helping matters?”
He added: “The crimes transformed from local to more organised ones. The police were earlier deployed and later the military too was deployed. Why is there no respite despite the presence of the military? The soldiers deployed sometimes pay us a visit in the course of their operations.
“It is wrong for the military command to, for instance, deploy only 30 soldiers and ask them to engage hundreds of armed criminals in a forest. That is why sometimes they get killed by these criminals. If NAF do their reconnaissance and dislodge the criminals from their camps, the ground troops should occupy the identified bases of the armed criminals.
“Even the attack on Tsanu village by the military, it was innocent civilians that were killed. We can provide documented evidence, but we don’t want to join issues with security operatives.”
The emirs said dozens of people were displaced by the attacks and they expressed readiness to cooperate with security operatives deployed to the state.