From Ibrahim Sidi Muh’d, Gusau
It was merciless and ungodly attack ever experienced in the history of Zamfara state which led to the untimely death of children, traders, leaders of the vigilante groups from Sokoto, Kaduna, Katsina, Niger and Zamfara states, as well as community members amounting to over 300 in ‘Yargaladima village of Dansadau emirate last Saturday.
The subsequent discovery of the 35 and the possibility of more additional corpses laying in the forest were untold part of the shocking story.
It was reported that, majority of them were unable to be conveyed into town for burial due to extreme level of mutilation and unpleasant odour, but were rather buried and had their funeral rites, right there for health reasons.
‘Yargaladima village, which is now ravaged and deserted following fierce attack by gunmen, is situated by the main road, about 10 kilometres away from Dansadau town to Gusau, the state capital, and is surrounded by some other economic potential villages making it commercial centre in the area.
Unconfirmed reports revealed that the state government has secretly swung into peace talks with the leadership of the deadly group and that the agreement has even reached advanced stage. Some arrested members of the bandits were already released being part of like government before they would allow peace to reign in the state.
The controversial meeting which was earlier cancelled by the state government and security agencies allegedly caused the black Saturday. It was learnt that the dangerous group had earlier sent a warning message to the state government seeking its quick intervention to call off the meeting which they suspected was organised by the vigilante group to attack them.
In another development, the bandits did not rest their warning fingers, but further had contact with the leader of the meeting identified as Kurma, who is from Zamfara state, that he should do his best to ensure the permanent cancellation of the meeting.
The state government and security agencies were reported to have severally averted the meeting before finally, the expelled participants sneaked to regroup elsewhere around the shallow part of the forest. That did not discourage the bandits’ effort in stopping the meeting.
Reports narrated that the bandits had to call the leaders of the meeting, warned them to immediately dismiss the participants from the place as they were soon to arrive the venue in full force to fiercely launch an irresistible attack on them.
A survivor, who identified himself as Isa Shekara Dawa, said, “After our leaders passed the information pertaining the warning message to about four thousand of us at the meeting, they threw the matter for voting which majority in attendance, considering our large number, insisted we should wait for them to come. Besides, it would save our time going down to the forest looking for their camp after the meeting.”
He said they all shouted in a warrior manner in order to make up minds to change everyone into war mood.There were hundreds of motorbike ridders that had surrounded the venue, only waiting for firing order.
He continued, “There was a brief conversation between our leader, Kurma ‘Yargaladima and the leader of the insurgents, who at the end asked, “Didn’t I warn you to call-off the meeting some days before now and you dared my order?
Now any of you that is satisfied with his formidable charms can go back to his family, or else he sleeps forever in his grave. The man did not say a word again, but only brought out a small red flag and raised it up, then followed by the sounds of AK47 and the rain of ammunitions against us”, Shekara Dawa disclosed.
Another survivor, Mai Kare Danmari said, “Many of us under the heavy rain of bullets had used their charms to disappear and ran helter-skelter towards the market while on full session, thinking that the insurgents may consider the hundreds of innocent traders to cease fire as the bandits used to disappear too, but their leader was still shouting out orders to his men, saying, “kill anybody at sight”, I pity hundreds of innocent traders killed by the insurgents.” The attempt for the participants of the expelled meeting to escape into a crowded market was the unfortunate situation that led to the untimely death of hundreds which would force hundreds of women to become widows while hundreds of children would suffer the bitter side of life for becoming orphans. During mass burial of 74 massacred people in the village, Governor Abdulaziz Yari Abubakar condemned the meeting organised by members of Vigilante group, describing it as illegal, though, the group in a separate occasion through its state Chairman, Bashir Nafi’u Gadabiyu, has distanced itself from the meeting as they claimed that, it was the Hunters’ Association mistaken as VGN.
Sources said the group of hunters, under the leadership of a hero from Zamfara state identified as Kurma, had organised a meeting in good faith, that was after becoming tired of incessant killings of innocent people across the state and that security agencies were not ready to tackle the matter.
It was gathered that, the display of AK47 in villages that share border with the forests surrounding the state has become as common as using handsets among the populace, the situation that always put villagers in apprehension to the extent they could not sleep in their houses.