At Birnin Waje community in Bukkuyum Local Government Area of Zamfara State, almost 30 people perished after canoes they boarded capsized on Wednesday night as they fled an onslaught by armed men.
According to a source, most of those injured when they attempted to cross a river to escape a communal attack by armed men in two overloaded canoes were women and children.
Communities in Bukkuyum have recently seen a major increase in deadly raids, which are reportedly being carried out by bandits who are thought to be lurking in the vast Gando and Barikin Daji forests in the local governments of Bukkuyum and Gummi.
The source claims that 15 worshippers were murdered by terrorists 13 days ago after they attacked a mosque in the Ruwan Jema neighbourhood of the Bukkuyum local government region.
The source went on to say that during the attack on Wednesday, armed criminals broke into the Birnin Waje community and began shooting at the locals. They emphasised that the shootings caused a stampede, with many residents attempting to board canoes to cross the river to Zauma, a community they believed to be relatively safer and located about 2 kilometres to the west of Bukkuyum town, the region’s administrative centre.
He stated that in spite of several warnings by the canoe riders to the residents to get off, they remained adamant and moved on, saying that the canoes became heavily loaded as none of them wanted to be left behind.
“The armed guys then chased the escaping residents to the river bank firing rounds,” he claimed. The canoe riders in the centre of the river, who most likely could not withstand the bandits’ shooting, leapt in, leaving the canoes drifting. However, a few citizens were able to get away after jumping into the sea and swimming to the beach.
Read also: One dies, six injured in Ondo road accident
He mentioned that three of his younger sister’s children are among the victims and said that there is a great deal of concern that the bandits are still in the area because it has made rescue attempts very difficult.
SP At the time this report was filed, Muhammad Shehu, the state police command’s spokesman, could not be reached for comment.