At least seven persons have been reported killed after bandits attacked several communities in Kasai and Nahuta villages of Batsari Local Government Area of Katsina State.
Of the seven, two persons were killed by the bandits during the attack on Kasai community and five others killed in Nahuta community with several others injured.
The attack came hours after barely hours after Northern Governors Forum met to review the security situation in the region and set up a standing committee on security to foster synergy with security agencies with the aim to enforce security measures in the region.
As gathered, the community was attacked by the bandits yesterday night when the residents, who were predominantly Muslims, were preparing for the evening prayer, Magrib.
In his account, a resident of Kurmiyal, a neighbouring community, Sama’ila Lihidda, in an interview with newsmen on Saturday, stressed that the hoodlums attacked the communities last night at about 7:00 pm.
According to him, upon their arrival on motorcycles, the bandits armed with guns, opened fire, shooting sporadically on the air to disperse the people living in Kasai and Nahuta communities,” Lihidda added.
When contacted, the state’s police spokesman, SP Gambo Isah said he was not aware of the attack and assured to check for onward confirmation.
In the past few years Katsina, along with other northern states, has experienced rise in bandit attacks on villages, prompting calls for increased security for citizens.
During the northern governor’s forum, Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, was named as the committee chairman while his counterparts from Zamfara and Gombe states, Bello Matawalle, and Muhammad Yahaya, as members.
Another committee headed by Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, with Governors of Adamawa, Niger, and Sokoto States – Ahmadu Fintiri, Abubakar Bello, and Aminu Tambuwal, as members, was set up on the consultation with traditional, religious and community leaders in the North.
According to a statement by the spokesperson for Governor Lalong who is also the Forum’s chairman, Dr Makut Macham, the consultative committee would ensure that there is wider involvement in tackling insecurity in the North.
The governors also resolved to engage local vigilantes, hunters, and community watch groups in the security architecture of the region, to enhance intelligence gathering, rapid response, and sustained surveillance.
They, therefore, called on the Federal Government to closely look into the ECOWAS Protocol on Free Movement of Persons regarding the cross-border movement of herders from other countries into Nigeria, particularly the North.
While commending the security forces for their efforts in tackling insecurity in the region, the governors called for increased synergy to enhance operations and assist in putting an end to the activities of bandits, insurgents, kidnappers and other criminals.
They also agreed to adopt dialogue where necessary while pursuing military measures in dealing with the various security challenges in the North.