About 150 people killed at the weekend by invading gunmen in Unguwar Galadima village in Maru Local Government Area of Zamfara State have been given a mass burial.
THISDAY learnt yesterday that the bodies of the victims were interred on Sunday at a ceremony attended by the state Governor, Alhaji Abdulaziz Yari.
Over 215 persons were said to have been killed in the attack on the people who were holding a meeting of vigilante groups to review the security situation in the area when the gunmen struck.
In a swift response to the killings, the Inspector General of Police (IG), Mr. Mohammed Abubakar, has ordered the immediate deployment of special forces, comprising 10 units of Police Mobile Force (PMF), three units of conventional policemen, a unit of counter-terrorism personnel, border patrol teams and intelligence personnel drawn from various squadrons and commands to reinforce the security agents already in the area.
Speaking at the funeral, Yari, who led a delegation of the state government to the ceremony, expressed shock and sadness over the incident.
He wondered how such a heinous act could happen in broad daylight without any help from the security operatives.
While giving the assurance of his government’s determination to fish out the culprits and bring them to book, Yari also promised that the families of the victims would be compensated to cushion their suffering.
Survivors of the attack who narrated their ordeal said the gunmen who arrived in the village on motorcycles, wore military uniform and were heavily armed.
Some witnesses told the Hausa Service of the BBC that over 200 persons died in the attack.
A resident of the village, Malam Idris Galadima, who escaped death by a whisker, told THISDAY yesterday that he lost his two brothers in the gruesome attack.
He stated that about 215 persons were killed in the attack with 150 bodies had been buried in a mass grave in the area.
Galadima said: “The incident occurred when some members of our vigilante group and farmers were holding meeting in the afternoon on how to curtail criminal activities in the area. Suddenly, we saw some gunmen coming to the venue of the meeting and they opened fire on us indiscriminately.
“It was by the grace of God that I escaped death but my two brothers lost their lives in the attack. In fact, as I am talking to you now, I am still in pains over the injury sustained in the attack.
“In fact, we counted over 150 people that had been buried on Sunday in a mass grave in the area.”
According to him, the gunmen who invaded the village riding on 100 motorcycles and bearing sophisticated weapons blocked major routes in the area.
He said after the attack on the people at the meeting, the gunmen moved from house to house to continue with the killings and later set ablaze all the shops in the village.
“After attacking those at the meeting, they moved from house to house and some of the young men ran away. There were dead bodies scattered all over the place, though they did not rape our women”, he added.
He explained that only 27 inhabitants of the village lost their lives in the attack while most of the victims were from neigbouring communities.
Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) zone 10, Mamman Sule, said the dead bodies found were 79.
He condemned the meeting of the vigilante group without consultation with the security agencies.
Meanwhile, Force spokesperson, Frank Mba, a Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP), in a statement announcing the deployment of more policemen to the state, said the Air Wing of the Nigeria Police would commence aerial patrol and surveillance of the area in order to efficiently and effectively monitor the situation.
He said the new security measures were to forestall further infiltration and escape of marauders through the borders.