Suspected terrorists have reportedly killed 18 worshippers with many others injured as they attacked a Jum’at mosque on Friday, September 23, 2022, in Zamfara state.
According to reports, the attack occured at Ruwan Jema, a community in Bukkuyum area of Zamfara.
The attacked was said to have started a few minutes after 1 p.m. and lasted for over an hour.
It learned the attack was suspected to have been carried by terrorists from either the Dogo Gudale gang or Shadari gang, which are based in the nearby Gando forest.
An indigene of Bukkuyum town, Abdullahi Salisu, told Premium Times that the terorrists arrived the mosques in motorcycles just as Jum’at prayer was about to start and started shooting at the worshippers indiscriminately.
“When the bandits came on their motorcycles, they rode straight to the mosque. When the worshippers, who were already inside the mosque learnt of their arrival, they started running outside but it was too late as the bandits opened fire on the worshippers,” he said
Salisu, who was in Bukkuyum town Saturday afternoon, said Ruwan Jema has been deserted.
“Those who hid inside their houses and silos later recovered eight dead bodies inside the mosque while ten other corpses were recovered outside the mosque. As of Friday night, 18 dead bodies were counted.”
He added that several residents fled into the bush but were later seen in other communities while others trekked to Bukkuyum, the local government area headquarters.
A traditional ruler, who asked not to be named for safety reasons, said several residents are receiving treatment at the General Hospital in Bukkuyum.
He said four people who sustained serious injuries were taken to the Usman Danfodio University Teaching Hospital in Sokoto.
“There are more than ten victims with gunshots injuries in Bukkuyum General Hospital . This morning, the medical officer asked that four people should be taken to Sokoto for urgent medical attention. I was there when they left. They sustained serious gunshots and we hope they survive it,” the traditional ruler added.
Another resident of Bukkuyum, Abubakar Usman, said the dead bodies had not been buried as of press time.
Even those who started gathering the corpses abruptly fled for their lives in the evening when there was a rumour that the bandits were returning. That’s why I told you the figure could be more than 18 because who know how many were killed when even those who started the counting abandoned the dead bodies and run for their lives?” he said
He added that he heard that the policemen and soldiers stationed in the area were getting reinforcement to go to the community so that the dead bodies could be buried.
The police spokesperson in the state, Mohammed Shehu, did not reply an SMS sent to him for comments.
This development is coming barely a month after several worshippers were abducted as suspected bandits invaded a Jumaat Mosque in the Zugu community of Gummi local government area of Zamfara State.
One of the worshippers, who escaped miraculously, Ibrahim Mustapha, stated that the armed men hid their guns inside their clothes before they stormed the mosque when the Imam was about to start delivering his sermon.
He said ”no one saw them with guns and many people mistook them for worshippers. Nobody paid attention to them because they hid their guns.
He explained that after they moved inside the mosque, they brought out the rifles and fired some warning shots, adding that they herded the congregants into the bush but some of the worshippers managed to scramble out of the mosque to safety.
He said some of those who were outside the mosque were also abducted because unknown to them, some armed men took positions outside.
Meanwhile, the Zamfara State Government has ordered 7,000 guns for operatives of the Community Protection Guards (CGP) who will be deployed in rural communities and villages to protect residents from bandits.
This was disclosed by the media aide to the state governor, Zailani Bappa, on Tuesday, August 30 2023.
According to him, the state would assist the guards to process their firearms licences with the police.