The deadly attack by bandits in Sabuwar Tunga village, Dankurmi district of Maru Local Government Area of Zamfara state in which scores of people were killed was in retaliation for the killing of a leader of the banditry group by residents of the community.
SaharaReporters had last Friday reported how gunmen invaded the community, killing over 40 people.
The bandits also abducted over 100 people, including 80 nursing mothers and children during the attack.
However, the Zamfara state government refuted the report.
The state governor, Bello Matawalle, represented by his deputy chief of staff, Bashir Maru, during a press conference on Friday said no life was lost in the attack.
“A certain online newspaper went further to report that the bandits also killed 40 people in the said attack. Gentlemen of the press, nothing could be farther from the truth than this fabricated information.
“It is worthy to ask yourselves as media practitioners why those who gave you the false information of 40 people killed by the bandits (which in itself is blatantly false) refused to give you the information of the bandits killed by sheer efforts of the resilient people of Ruwan Tofa (which in itself is the truth)?” he said.
Speaking to SaharaReporters on Friday, some residents of the community condemned the statement made by the government.
They insisted that over 40 villagers were buried a day after the incident.
Narrating how the incident happened, the residents said the armed men earlier invaded a nearby village called Koda with the intent of rustling cattle but met fierce resistance.
They added that the leader of the gang of bandits was killed in a shootout and all their rustled cattle were recovered.
The gunmen were said to have organised themselves again and laid siege when most of the residents were attending a weekly market trading in Dankurmi community.
“They asked some traders to come for a meeting, and when they came around for the purported meeting, they shot almost all of them in the head at close range. They also went to a mining pit and started shooting the miners at close range, killing over 30 of them.
“The governor and his officials should be ashamed of themselves,” a resident told SaharaReporters.
Deadly attacks have raged across Zamfara state where bandits have thrived.
Farming and herding communities in the state have long been terrorised by gangs who raid villages, stealing cattle and kidnapping residents for ransom.
On Friday, 279 students of Government Girls Secondary School, Jangebe in the Talata Mafara Local Government area of the state were abducted.
The gunmen were said to have arrived the school around 1 am and loaded the girls in buses.
The students were released after negotiations between the government and the kidnappers.
In 2019, the state government entered a peace agreement with the gunmen.
About 15 brand new Hilux vehicles and cash gifts were also given to leaders of different ‘repentant’ gangs of bandits by the governor in 2020.
But despite all these, communities in the state are still being attacked and residents kidnapped and/or killed.