•Yakowa condemns attack
…Denies killings took place inside mosque
From NOAH EBIJE and ABDULGAFAR ALABELEWE, Kaduna
Gunmen suspected to be robbers, yesterday went on the rampage, killing 20 persons in Dogo-Dawa village, Birmin Gwari Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
The gunmen were said to have opened fire on worshippers returning to their houses after the dawn muslim prayers, in what was also believed to be a reprisal attack.
A resident in the village told Daily Sun: “This morning (Sunday morning), the criminals came back and went to the house of the man they suspected to be responsible for identifying them, killed him and two of his children and cut the hands of his wife. The hoodlums also killed 17 other people in the village. I learnt that those people they killed were just returning from early morning prayers.
“I can confirm to you that it was not a robbery operation, it was the criminals that came on a reprisal attack because the people have been identifying them.”
When contacted on phone, Kaduna State Commissioner of Police, Olufemi Adenaike, disclosed: “We cannot ascertain the number of people killed for now. Moreover, we cannot say what or who was responsible for the attack.
“Some people are saying the attackers were Fulani herdsmen who were probably on reprisal attack. But the question is: what reprisal attack? So, my men have moved to the scene to get details of the incident. We couldn’t get immediate information from the area because the network there is very poor. But as soon as we get the details and number of people killed, we will let you know.”
Daily Sun gathered that the massacre was a revenge attack by armed robbers as the vigilante group in the community had aided the capture of some robbers who were terrorizing villagers and travelers in the past few weeks.
Daily Sun also learnt that the attackers had written a letter to the community notifying them that they were going to avenge the arrest of their gang members by the community.
However, some villagers sharply disagreed with the armed robbery theory, insisting that the attackers had other motives beyond robbery.
It would be recalled that there had been incessant robbery incidents in the area, especially along the Kaduna/Birnin Gwari Expressway, where some women were even raped.
Based on this, the community, Daily Sun gathered, had set up a committee to help find out those who were responsible and put an end to it.
The committee did a good job as they were able to identify some of those responsible for the robbery and other criminal activities in the area.
The eyewitness added: “A former hakimi (village leader) in Dogo Dawa was in charge of the committee that was responsible for sanitizing the area and that was why, in the last three months, there was no robbery attack in the area as the people were able to identify the criminals and they were being eliminated secretly one after the other. The criminals must have fled the village when they discovered that they no longer had a base there.”
As at press time, residents of the village have begun to flee Dogo Dawa and the neighboring villages to avoid further attacks.
Meanwhile, Governor Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa of Kaduna State has condemned the attack, even as government denied and condemned the report by Al-Jazeera Cable Television that the victims were killed inside a Mosque.
A statement issued by Senior Special Adviser to Governor Yakowa on Media, Mr. Reuben Buhari, stated that,even as government awaited further reports on the issue from the Police, it was disturbed by reports being aired by Al-jazeera cable television, alleging that those who lost their lives were killed inside a mosque.