Armed ViolenceNews

2 Herders Killed During Vigilante Group Raid In Zamfara Market

The incident took place on Aug. 30 when an armed vigilante group at Bungudu, northwestern Nigeria, stormed the town’s Central Market. It left two herders dead and several others arrested. 

Eye witnesses say an armed vigilante group numbering about 60 on Wednesday, Aug. 30 killed two herders in Bungudu Central Market. The incident took place at about 4:50 pm in Bungudu Local Government Area (LGA) of Zamfara State, Northwest Nigeria.

Carrying locally-made guns, the vigilantes came into the Bungudu market amid hundreds of traders and buyers. They targeted 11 persons whom they accused of having links to terror activities within the area, HumAngle gathered.

Ayuba Balarabe, a local businessman from Bungudu, said “I was inside the market when I saw the heavily armed vigilantes. I guessed they were looking for people they alleged are linked to bandits to nab them. Not up to an hour later, I heard that they arrested two herders suspected to be Fulanis and killed them thereafter. This extrajudicial killings by armed vigilantes is not new in Zamfara communities.” 

An eyewitness from Bungudu village spoke to HumAngle on condition of anonymity: “The two herders who were killed are old men from Dunya-Ukku village who were in the market to buy potassium.”

The source said he saw how the vigilantes forced them into their motorcycles while the herders resisted. When the two herders refused, they then killed them. “They left their dead bodies there at the market and moved ahead,” he added. “This is the third time I have seen this happening in Bungudu local government.”

Sulaiman Sani, a tomato seller from Yarkatsina village was on a visit to the market to sell his pepper and tomato products. “The vigilantes caught the two people and moved them a few metres away from the market centre. They [vigilantes] felled the two herders down, positioned them to the east and killed them.”

People in the marketplace ran helter-skelter. In the process, many lost their money or properties.

When this reporter tried to reach vigilantes from the area for  their comment, it was learned that those who perpetrated the act were likely from another local government area.

The trend

“We suffer incessant extrajudicial killings perpetrated by the vigilantes across all the villages in the State,” Salisu Boyi, who was once a victim, said. “My innocent elder brother was murdered last year by the vigilante group.”

HumAngle gathered that Salisu’s eldest brother from Yamutsawa in Bungudu LGA, last year made a move to have a discussion between the traditional leaders and the vigilantes in order to stop the killing of innocent Fulanis. “He had advised them to meet the real bandits in the forest to kill them instead.” 

Salisu added that some young Fulani, unfortunately joined the terror groups and their parents did their best to stop them but failed.

“That’s why the neighbouring vigilantes are attacking some innocent Fulanis and accusing them of having a hand in any attack,” He added. 

“I can confirm to you that my uncle who was killed a few months ago has a son who joined the bandits. Now imagine if his son thought to retaliate,” Salisu said.

“The armed vigilantes, locally known as ‘Yan-Sakai, are copying from bandits, because they kill arrogantly. And the majority of them are having similar mentality with the bandits,” Shamsu Bello Lawal, another resident, explained.

The Zamfara State Police Spokesperson, Yazid Abubakar, said he was not aware of any such incident. He, however, added that he would confirm. When asked if there is any update concerning the police’s response to counter the animosity between the vigilantes and local Fulani, he added that he was not aware of any such relationship between the two groups in Bungudu.  

HumAngle has reported the plight of the Fulani in Zamfara State as well as in other parts of northwestern Nigeria. It has shown how those who are not associated with the criminality are pressured by terror groups. Also, how, gradually, the ‘Yan sakai vigilante model spread from other parts of the region to Zamfara.

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