© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
FG to set up military battalion in Birnin-Gwari to forestall killings
Nasir El-Rufai, Governor of Kaduna State, says the federal Government will situate a permanent military battalion at Birnin-Gwari area to as part of efforts to bring tackle the killings going on in the gold-rich area.
El-Rufai made this announcement via his verified twitter handle, in reaction to an attack by unknown gunmen on the community, during which over 50 persons were killed.
He added that one police area command and two divisional police headquarters has also been created in the area to beef up security.
“Kaduna State Government is deeply committed to overcoming the unfortunate criminality and banditry being carried out against innocent citizens in Birnin Gwari local government,” El-Rufai tweeted.
“The engagements between the State and Federal Governments have yielded results. President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the establishment of a permanent Battalion of the Nigerian Army in the Birnin Gwari general area.
“The new security arrangements also involve Policing. The Inspector General of Police has already announced the creation of the Birnin Gwari Police Area Command and two new Divisional Police Headquarters.”
El-Rufai further said that he has directed the State Emergency Management Agency to provide relief materials to the affected communities.
The attack on Birnin-Gari community occurred Saturday afternoon, while El-Rufai was touring several local government areas of Kaduna State, as the All Progressives Congress (APC) held its ward congresses.
Houses were torched and properties worth millions were destroyed, as the attackers had a field day without the slightest confrontation by security agencies. This is in spite of the directive by Ibrahim Idris, Inspector General of Police, who had visited the community on Thursday and ordered that 200 additional policemen be deployed to the area.
It is not clear yet what led to the attack, but Birnin-Gwari is a community rich in gold. A lot of artisanal mining activities go on there.
Last week, about nine miners were killed in the area when gunmen opened fire on them at their mining site, before setting some of the bodies ablaze.
There have been an increase in the incidents of violent attacks and killings across several parts of Nigeria so far in 2018; Boko Haram in the North-East, herdsmen and bandits in the North West and North Central, and cultists in the South-South, South West and parts of the South East.
Several stakeholders warn that the 2019 general elections could be threatened should the killings continue unchecked.