Residents of the communities where members of vigilante groups were massacred by terrorists last Thursday have said the number of those killed had risen to 102 as of Sunday night.
The terrorists ambushed members of local vigilante groups from Bakori Local Government of Katsina while they were chasing the terrorists to retrieve the livestock they rustled from their communities.
Though the police claimed 41 people were killed, residents said the number of those actually killed in the ambush more than doubled the number given by the police.
PREMIUM TIMES gathered that the communities affected are under the Guga, Kakumi, Kandarawa and Jargaba wards of Bakori, one of the areas worse hit by the activities of terrorists in the state.
A community leader in Guga village, who asked not to be named for security reasons, told PREMIUM TIMES over the phone on Monday that 72 bodies had been retrieved and buried as of Sunday night.
“We’ve counted 102 of our people that have been killed but in the three wards of Guga, Kakumi and Kandarawa, we’ve buried 72 people. We couldn’t retrieve the other dead bodies because most of them have decomposed while those who followed the terrorists deep into the bush were killed and we couldn’t go since the bandits are still lurking around,” he said.
He said those killed included vigilante members and other residents who volunteered to pursue the terrorists.
The community leader said some family members tried contacting their relations through the phone but the terrorists answered the calls.
“They didn’t kidnap any of them; they don’t abduct vigilante members they kill them instantly,” he said.
A resident of the Kakumi community, Najibu Aminu, told PREMIUM TIMES over the phone that the massacre has caused panic among residents.
“The problem is that we don’t have enough weapons to protect ourselves because the police and government have taken away our weapons in the name of peace. Our people are already in panic mode because of what happened. Who knows what will happen in the next few days because some of the terrorists were also killed during the fight, so I’m sure they will plan to return and launch a deadlier attack,” he said.
This reporter gathered that the worse hits communities are: Garangozai, Gidan Wawu, Gidan Sarkin Noma, Gidan Tanko, Layin ‘Yannehu, Unguwar Ɗanbaushi, Gidan Kanawa, Unguwar Gero, Unguwar Ɗaga, Maiyaɗiya, Gangare, Gidan Cirai, Gidan Bawa, Gidan Aminu, Gidan Baushi and Gidan Gagare.
A leader of one of the vigilante groups, who was also part of the clash, told BBC Hausa that the terrorists overpowered them because they were better armed.
“They have more weapons than us. You know our guns are mostly dane while they have AK 47 rifles and they were also more than us. We tried our best and we fought for two days without reinforcement or even assistance from security agents in the area,” he said.
He told the BBC Hausa that despite their efforts in trying to get across to security agents working with them in the area, the security men didn’t arrive until the following day when they had already been killed.
The police spokesperson in the state, Gambo Isa, was unreachable and didn’t respond to an SMS sent to him on the number of victims.