© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
BLOODY JULY: Boko Haram, herdsmen, bandits killed 403 people in six states
AS many as 403 Nigerians were killed in July by suspected Boko Haram terrorists, herdsmen and bandits across the northern part of the country.
The killings were perpetuated despite the deployment of police and military operatives to these states by the Federal Government.
According to International Crisis Group, conflict between herders and farmers was six times deadlier than Boko Haram in 2018. However, Boko Haram attacks in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states resulted to death of 149 people between July 13 and 23.
BOKO HARAM INCREASED ATTACKS IN JULY
On July 13, suspected Boko Haram killed five residents of Luru town and hoisted its flag in the Luru area of Girei Local Government Area of Adamawa State.
Among those killed by the terrorists was a former secretary of the defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) in the area identified as John Tika.
According to media reports, Adamawa State Police Public Relations officer, Othman Abubakar, confirmed the incident but denied that it was a Boko Haram attack or another militant group.
Elsewhere at Boboshe village in Bama Local Government Area of Borno State, a military convoy was ambushed by the insurgent− 23 Nigerian soldiers and eight trucks were missing after the attack. The attack took place on July 13.
In another attack, five officers, 18 soldiers and eight trucks were missing but the military authorities denied death of any soldier.
Just a day after the Bama ambush of the military convoy, Boko Haram insurgents again attacked a military base in Yobe State.
Sixty-two soldiers were killed in the attack on the military base by the Boko Haram in Geidam local Government Area, Yobe State.
Despite denials by the military about the attack on the base in Jilli in Geidam, The ICIR obtained a credible information indicating that dozens of soldiers were killed and more were still missing.
At Mussini village, about 16 kilometres from Gamboru, Borno State, Boko Haram fighters killed six traders when they ambushed a convoy of lorries under military escort in northeast Nigeria. The attack took place on July 17.
“Six traders were killed in an ambush by Boko Haram gunmen on Tuesday,” said Umar Kachalla, from the volunteer security force in Gamboru, a trading hub on Nigeria’s border with Cameroon.
Kachalla said the gunmen opened fire on the 23-strong convoy, forcing it to stop, then looted supplies and torched the vehicles.
July 18 was yet another bloody day as 27 people were reportedly killed in an ambush by suspected Boko Haram terrorists in Gajibo village, about 12km away from Dikwa town of Dikwa Local Government Area of Borno.
The terrorists were said to have attacked the lengthy convoy of more than 60 small and long vehicles transporting passengers and goods from Northeast Nigeria to Chad, Niger, Cameroon, Gabon and others.
Again, a Boko Haram suspect carried out a body-borne improvised explosive device (BBIED) attack in Konduga, Borno State on July 23, killing at least eight people and injuring five others.The militant reportedly detonated his explosives in a mosque in the Mainari district around 05:15 a.m
In all, Boko Haram attacks in the month of July in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe led to deaths of about 149 people, including 85 soldiers.
HERDSMEN’S MONTH OF HAVOC
Violence between herders and farmers has killed more than 1,300 people since January 2018 and has become the nation’s gravest security challenge, now claiming more lives than the Boko Haram insurgency.
In Taraba, 12 villages in Lau Local Government Area of Taraba State were on July 8 sacked by armed gunmen suspected to be Fulani herdsmen. It was a bloody Sunday for the villagers when at least 42 people were left dead at the end of the attacks.
The affected villages, include Bujum, Yilti, Bunzung, Sabon Gida, Kwajafa, Sobon Layi and Budon, Dauda Marafa, a survivor said. “Other villages that have been sacked by the Fulani herdsmen militia are Bamga Dutse, Bawa Garki, Mayo Lope and Kpanti Ladi.
“Over 2,000 displaced persons are currently taking refuge at the Negatavah primary and secondary schools in Jalingo metropolis and more are still trooping in since Sunday when the attacks started.”
After the June 23 attacks by suspected herdsmen on three local governments in Plateau State which claimed about 200 lives, the International Crisis Group in its monthly crisis watch for the month of July reported that four people were killed by armed men believed to be herdsmen in the state.
Though, International Crisis Group in the said Crisis Watch report said six people were killed in Adamawa by herdsmen, over 50 people were reported to have been killed in another bloody attack that took place on July 9 in several communities bothering Adamawa and Taraba states.
Reports say Fulani militia attacked Gojefa, Bujum Yashi, Bujum Waya, Sabonlayi and Bujum Kasuwa villages in Numan Local Government Area of Adamawa State.
Other communities affected by the onslaught included Anguwan Bishop Yotti, Todung, Budon, Bunzum and Bamga Dutse in Taraba State.
BANDITS’ DARING ATTACKS
In what has now been described as the deadliest attacks by unknown gunmen largely described as bandits, Zamfara and Sokoto states came under heavy attacks in the month of July which resulted to loss of more than 100 lives in the two states.
According to Amnesty International, at least 371 people have been killed since January and dozens of villages sacked in Zamfara State by armed bandits − at least 238 of these killings took place after the deployment of the Nigerian Air Force.
Sa’idu Dansadau, a former senator representing Zamfara Central, said bandits have killed about 3,000 people in the state in the last two years.
On July 17, 30 people were reportedly killed in the renewed attacks by bandits in the state. Police confirmed the attacked, but said only three people were killed.
Zamfara State Police Public Relations Officer, Muhammad Shehu, said the victims were killed in Sakkida and Gyadde villages, while further attacks were repelled by the force when it got a distress call.
Reports, however, revealed that the attack on five villages in Maradun local government area claimed nothing less than 30 lives.
Residents reportedly said the bandits stormed Sakkida, Farin Zare, Orawa, Gyadde and Sabon Gari villages on motorbikes, killing people and rustling cows.
Meanwhile, suspected armed bandits on Tuesday July 24 killed at least 20 people in an attack on Kwaddi village in Zurmi Local Government Area of Zamfara State.
The incident, according to Daily Trust, happened at a mosque during Asr prayer.
It came just a week after another 30 people were killed in similar deadly assaults on five villages in Gidan Goga district of Maradun Local Government Area of the state.
On Friday, July 27, 18 villages in the Mashema, Kwashabawa and Birane districts of Zurmi Local Government Area of Zamfara State were attacked, leaving at least 42 people dead.
President Muhammadu Buhari, on Saturday, July 28, announced the deployment of 1,000 troops to Zamfara State. That was the third time since November 2017 that the Federal Government deployed the military in response to attacks but has not translated into protection for remote and vulnerable communities. Previous military interventions have failed to end the killings, especially in rural areas of Zamfara.
Sokoto also had a sad share of the banditry when 32 people were killed by suspected bandits on July 10, 2018. A mass burial was held on Wednesday July 11, 2018 for the victims.
“We have buried 26 so far and we are still scouting for other bodies in the bush. Some of the residents were trapped on their farms and got killed,” Makau Ali, a resident was quoted as saying.
“For the first time, women were among those shot dead,” he said. “Seven persons were killed in Sakkida, four in Farin Zare, 8 in Orawa, seven in Gyadde and four were shot dead in Sabon Gari while seven were declared missing.”
In July alone, available records show that armed bandits killed about 158 people in Zamfara and Sokoto states. There are already fears that despite deployment of special forces by the Federal Government to Zamfara State, many villages are still vulnerable to attacks and kidnapping by the bandits.
By The ICIR‘s conservative estimate, 403 people were killed by suspected Boko Haram, herdsmen and bandits in July alone.