Ahead of the Eid-el-Kabir celebrations, an advance team of President Muhammadu Buhari to Katsina State was on Tuesday evening attacked by bandits who have been terrorising people in the state and environs.
The convoy of cars carrying the advance team of security guards, protocol and media officers of the State House was attacked in Dutsinma, Katsina.
Two persons were injured in the attack, described by the presidency as an ambush.
The incident happened ahead of President Buhari’s expected visit to Daura, his hometown, on Thursday, for the Sallah celebration on Saturday.
It was gathered that the attack on the presidential team took place few hours after an Assistant Commissioner of Police was killed in a separate attack around the same Dutsinma area.
According to reports, the President’s convoy said left the State House, Abuja, on Tuesday morning for Daura.
An eyewitness, who was nearly caught in the cross fire, told news men that they were on their way back to Dutsinma from Kankara, when they saw hundreds of fully armed fighters crossing the road on motorcycles and they had to run for their safety.
He said the attackers engaged the security operatives attached to the presidential convoy in a fierce battle.
“We were travelling when we saw bandits crossing on motorcycles. We ran to Turare village and suddenly we sighted a long military convoy that came under the bandits’ attack.
“After a gun duel, the military operatives cleared the road and that was how they were able to reach Dutsinma,” the eyewitness said.
Another eyewitness in Turare village who spoke on condition of anonymity, said after the soldiers cleared the road and moved on, the bandits regrouped and attacked some villages in Makera ward of Dutsinma Local Government Area as well as some villages west of Zobe Dam where they carted away many cows.
“They went to Makera, Kurechi, Dogon ruwa, Tashan mangwaro and other villages where they rustled cows. As we speak, some residents of these villages have relocated to Turare for fear of another attack,” he said.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, who confirmed the attack on the presidential convoy, said two persons were injured.
In a statement issued late Tuesday night, the presidency described the attack as sad.
“The presidency has described as sad and unwelcome, the shooting incident near Dutsinma, Katsina State, at the convoy of cars carrying the advance team of security guards, protocol and media officers ahead of the President, Muhammadu Buhari’s trip to Daura for Sallah.
“The attackers opened fire on the convoy from ambush positions but were repelled by the military, police and DSS personnel accompanying the convoy.
“Two persons in the convoy are receiving treatment for the minor injuries they suffered. All the other personnel, staff and vehicles made it safely to Daura,” he said.