“Following the reported killing of 30 persons in February, the bandits cooled-off in March but resumed maiming, shooting, raping and rustling of cattle on April 19”–Media Reports
Several media reports compiled by SaharaReporters have shown that armed gangs killed at least 153 persons in seven reported attacks in Katsina between April and the murder of a village head on June 14.
A check of reported cases across different media platforms found an AFP report of 57 murders on June 11 to be the bloodiest day in the killing spree of the rustlers and looters.
Nigerians have been protesting the killings in Katsina.
Following the reported killing of 30 persons in February, the bandits cooled-off in March but resumed maiming, shooting, raping and rustling of cattle on April 19, according to media reports.
Police spokesperson in the state, Gambo Isah, put the death toll from the attack on communities across the local government areas of Dutsinma, Danmusa and Safana at 47.
Isah was not forthcoming with further details of the assault but told journalists through a statement that police, army, air force, civil defence and DSS personnel had been deployed to restore normalcy.
Six days later on April 25, Thisday released a publication saying the killings had been ongoing for three weeks.
It described the attacks on April 18, which the police spokesperson reported on the 19th, as a watershed point. The report said 73 bodies were evacuated from 12 villages across four LGAs.
Residents of the victimized communities said the bandits were demanding relief materials provided by the federal government for persons displaced by their activities. They abducted some people when leaving.
On May 2, Daily Trust reported that criminal elements ransacked Madobai and Dannakwabo villages in Kankara local government and killed three. The report spoke of four more deaths in the neighbouring communities of Mabai and Katsalle, only the three in the lead of the story was noted in the total, however.
The piece said the bandits asked the villagers to pay N5m to deter them from launching further attacks. This increased the reported deaths to 76.
Four days later on May 6, Tribune quoted the embattled Governor of Katsina State, Aminu Bello Masari, as saying five persons were murdered in multiple assaults by the armed robbers. The attacks took place in Faskari and Sabuwa LGAs.
A divisional police officer, Aminu Abdulkarim, and the administrative head of Dan Musa LGA, Yahaya Sabuwa, were kidnapped as well. This attack increased the reported skirmishes to 81.
On May 9, Mr Gambo Isah confirmed the death of a 57-year-old man during an attack by the bandits on two villages in Batsari Local Government. He said an unspecified number of cattle and sheep were rustled as well. This increased the number of reported deaths to 82.
Three weeks passed before another media reported killing happened in Katsina on May 30. The police spokesperson told Channels and AFP that 13 persons were murdered by the cattle rustlers in a duel with the better-armed criminals.
Between June 10 and June 11, media houses were reporting an assault in Kadisau village in faskari LGA. SaharaReporters reported that at least 40 persons were shot dead in the attack which started on Tuesday night, June 9 and lasted till Wednesday morning June 10, without any interference.
AFP reported from several sources that six villages were affected and 57 corpses were seen. Lots of livestock were stolen in the raid and some 24 persons were left with bullet wounds. The massacre tallied the media-recorded murders up to 152.
Just two days later, it was again reported that the robbers had killed the village district head of Mazoji in Matazu LGA. The hoodlums are said to have had a free reign of operation from Friday, June 12 to Saturday, June 13. This solitary kill brought the total deaths to 153.
Fuelling the attacks
DailyTrust reported before the June 9 raid on Faskari that the Katsina State government signed two peace accords with the bandits, in January 2017 and September 2019.
In both negotiations, the state government appeared not to have the vantage point. They were unable to disarm and reintegrate them.
Thisday quoted sources affected by the April 18 attack as well as the police public relations officer, Gambo Isah, as saying that several houses owned by persons of Fulani extraction were burnt down by the Yankasai vigilante in vengeance for an attack on Kuraichi village in Dutsin-Ma Local Government.
In the February raid, which led to the death of 30 people, the President was quoted as advising villagers not to go against the marauders who have superior firepower.
Population explosion, and the absence of a state-driven response to climate change, have also been identified by experts as reasons for the economic destabilisation of the youth population in the entire North-West zone, fuelling the banditry.