Governor Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara State said yesterday that the security agencies had enough warning and time to prevent Wednesday’s killings in Zurmi local government area of the state.
The governor claimed that his administration alerted the security agencies about the looming danger 24 hours before the bandits struck.
The response from them was poor,Yari said when he led five Northern Governors on a sympathy visit to the Palace of the Emir of Zurmi, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.
“On this particular incident, we had intelligence reports 24 hours before it happened that the bandits were grouping and ready to attack,” he said.
“I alerted the security agencies but unfortunately they sent inadequate personnel to confront these people from where they came from.”
Continuing, the governor said: “Whatever humanly possible that needed to be done, we as a government had done to mitigate this disaster. But it does appear that security agencies are failing in their responsibilities.
“I feel let down facing the people of this state whenever I remember the promise I made to them that when they elected President Muhammadu Buhari into power, these killings would end. But unfortunately, things are now getting worse.”
He urged the security agencies to “up the ante so as not to lose this war,” and warned: “If you let us take issues into our hands, anarchy will reign.”
Yari said security agencies in the area have failed to tackle the problem of cross border banditry and terrorism facing communities in the area.
Responding, the Emir said that the casualty figure would have been more than 39 but for the bravery of the vigilance groups that confronted the invaders.
He said about 600 bandits attempted to invade Zurmi but were repelled by vigilantes.
His words: “They came on 200 motorcycles with three persons on each bike. Each of them was well-armed.
“We stationed 500 vigilante members who stood their ground and gallantly fought the bandits. Unfortunately, these same bandits turned their anger on travellers and other villagers on their way here. That was why we had 39 people killed.
“These terrorists are known to us. Their major hideout is in a village called Kagara, very close to Bafarawa in Sokoto State, and a few kilometres from Shinkafi in Zamfara State.
“Despite several appeals to security agencies to storm the area, our appeals have failed.”
Alhaji Abubakar said most of the weapons used by those he called bad people in this country “are brought in from this area.”
He said he had previously personally informed the Zamfara State Director of SSS about a large cache of weapons being brought into the country but no concrete action was taken until the containers were moved.
He hoped that with the cooperation by all Northern Governors, the problem of banditry in the region will soon be over.
“I don’t need to repeat here that we need a full battalion of soldiers here and in areas surrounding Maru, Maradun, Shinkafi and Zurmi local government areas,” the visibly angry Emir said.
He added that the people have been pushed to the limit and a negative reaction from them will have a devastating consequence on the continued peaceful coexistence of all communities in the area.
In his remarks, Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno appealed to the people not to lose patience. He sympathized with the victims and prayed to God to grant the deceased eternal rest.
In addition to Shettima and Yari, other governors on the entourage were Aminu Waziri Tambuwal of Sokoto, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi and Umar Tanko Al-Makura of Nasarawa states.