GUSAU â€” DEATH toll in weekendâ€™s massacre in Unguwar Galadima community in Zamfara State, yesterday, hit 200.
This came as governor of the state, Abdulaziz Yari, who visited the village, yesterday, broke down in tears on sighting corpses of women, children and other residents of the village littering every part of the village. Our correspondent said the governor and other officials participated in the burial of 79 people killed in the attack by the cattle rustlers.
A survivor of the weekendâ€™s massacre, yesterday, confirmed counting 61 bodies even as the corpses were buried in mass graves.
This came as no fewer than 25 people, including politicians who were on their way to Maiduguri, the Borno State capital to attend the All Progressives Congress, APC, stakeholders meeting/congress were slaughtered by suspected Boko Haram terrorists in separate attacks in Gwoza council area and along the Maiduguri? Biu road.
A Nigerian soldier has also alleged that some military commanders were mercenaries of the Boko Haram sect and were paid by its sponsors. Military spokesman, Major General Chris Olukolade, however denied the allegation.
30 people killed â€”Police
On the Zamfara massacre, Police spokesman, Mr Lawal Abdullahi, said that â€œ30 people were killed and several others injuredâ€ in the attack.
According to him, â€œthe incident happened in Galadima during a meeting of community leaders and representatives of vigilante groups who were discussing ways to thwart armed robbers and cattle rustlers.
One of the survivors who simply gave his name as Babangida from neighbouring Kaduna, said more than 61 people died in the attack.
According to him, â€œwe counted 61 bodies from the scene of the attack last night, while many people were wounded and I was lucky to escape.â€
He implored the security forces to stem incessant attacks by Fulani rustlers on villages in the area.
Our reporter, however, said he counted up to 250 bodie that littered the community.
How the community was attacked
Vanguard gathered that the attackers were said to have obtained an intelligence report of a meeting being held in the community by vigilante teams and the community stakeholders on how to contain the invaders.
While the meeting was ongoing, they invaded the town on motorbikes with each bike carrying three men clutching guns and other dangerous weapons.
On arriving the town, the attackers started shooting at anyone in sight including women and children. Many victims were shot from behind.
Hundreds of bodies littered the town as those who could run escaped in to the bush. The gunmen also set a number of houses and shops ablaze.
After the attackers had left, members of the community embarked upon the unpleasant task of retrieving the bodies and burying them in mass graves.
The Emir of Dansadau, Alhaji Husaini Adamu, told our reporter: â€œThis is not the first time the people of the area would be facing such problem but todayâ€™s attack was the worst of its kind in the history of killings in this area.â€
The Emir, therefore, called on the authorities concerned to, as a matter of urgency, take immediate measures to address the problem.
Assistant Inspector?General of Police (AIG) Zone 10, Mamman Sule also in his remarks warned the vigilante groups to desist from holding such meetings which he described as illegal.
He said the gunmen invaded the town because they perhaps got the information that the meeting was to find a way of attacking them.
Gov Yari visits, weeps
Zamfara State Governor Abdulaziz Yari, who visited Unguwar Galadima, yesterday, broke down in tears on sighting corpses of women, children and other residents of the village littering every part of the village.
The governor who was received by the Emir of Dansadau, Alhaji Hussaini Adamu, explained that they counted more than one hundred dead bodies on the sport and more are still been counting.
Boko Haram kills 18 APC suppoters, 7 others
In a related development, no fewer than 25 people including politicians who were on their way to Maiduguri, the Borno State capital to attend the APC stakeholders meeting/congress were, weekend, slaughtered by suspected Boko Haram terrorists in separate attacks in Gwoza council area and along the Maiduguri? Biu road.
Sources said: â€œAbout 18 delegates of the APC who were on their way to attend a second stakeholders meeting slated for Sunday (yesterday) were ambushed by suspected terrorists.
Our correspondent also learnt that seven motorists and passengers were shot dead by suspected terrorists along the Maiduguri?Biu road a few metres away from Gwargube village.
The Maiduguri?Biu road has become a death trap in the past few weeks, as hardly a day passes without cases of road attacks by the terrorists, despite the presence of security operatives patrolling the road.
A member of the vigilante youth, a.k.a Civilian JTF, who did not want his name to be mentioned, in a telephone call said: â€œA group of terrorists, yesterday, laid ambush to some motorists and passengers along the Maiduguri?Biu road and killed many people before they invaded Gwargube village and solicited support from the villagers or risk deadly attacks.
On the 18 people suspected to be APC delegates who were ambushed in Gwoza, a survivor who attended the meeting, yesterday, told our correspondent after the meeting that 18 of his kinsmen were slaughtered by terrorists few minutes after their vehicle had passed the scene of the attack.
Nigerian soldiers are Bâ€™Haram mercenaries â€”Soldier
Meanwhile, a Nigerian soldier has alleged that some military commanders were mercenaries of the Boko Haram sect. In a report published by the VOA Hausa Service, an unnamed Nigeria soldier narrated how corruption and shortchange of soldiersâ€™ funds by commanders pushed Nigerians soldiers to partner with Boko Haram against their nation, resulting in the deaths of thousands of Nigerians since 2009.
In an exclusive interview with the VOAâ€™s Hausa Service, the unnamed soldier described how his military unit, based in the Borno State was ambushed by Boko Haram fighters.
The soldier said the commander of a nearby military unit, based in the town of Bama, recently sought assistance from his unit in carrying out a raid.
He said when the two military units joined up, they were given different uniforms. The Bama unit commander gave his own troops green uniforms. The soldier said his unit received â€œdesert camouflageâ€ uniforms.
When the troops reached the battle area, the soldier said the commander of the better?equipped Bama unit suddenly withdrew his forces, leaving the remaining troops to fend for themselves against Boko Haram fighters.
Speaking in Hausa, he said: â€œWe had only light arms and our men were being picked off one after the other.â€
The soldier also said he recognized some of the Boko Haram fighters as his former military trainers in Kontagora.
â€œWe realised that some of them were actually mercenaries from the Nigerian armyâ€¦ hired to fight us.â€
This soldier and others have said that too often, commanders have pocketed money that was supposed to be used to help equip units.
The unnamed soldier is an impostor â€”Olukolade
Denying the allegation of collaboration between some military commanders in the North-East and Boko Haram insurgents, the Director of Defence Information, Maj-Gen. Chris Olukolade, argued that a case of impersonation cannot be ruled out to create wrong impressions for the public.
He, however, assured that the military was probing the purported confession of a soldier which alleged that some army commanders were working together with Boko Haram.
According to Olukolade, â€œOrdinarily, the Nigerian soldier is too disciplined to be involved in that kind of utterances on radio. Let no terrorist propagandists hide under the guise of not wanting to disclose their source to present impostors as representing Nigerian soldiers.
â€œWe do not agree that he is our soldier; we believe very strongly that he is not our soldier. We are still studying the interview to confirm the motive. At the moment, we suspect that the intention is to create wrong impressions and cause disaffection.â€
â€œA case of impersonation cannot also be ruled out. We are taking the information seriously despite the fallacies contained in it. We do not believe he is one of our soldiers.â€