Armed ViolenceNews

4 Dead, 17 Kidnapped As Terrorists Storm Community In North West Nigeria

The attackers descended upon the Takalmawa community in Sokoto State under the cover of darkness shortly after midnight.

Terrorists operating in the Sabon Birni Local Government Area of Sokoto State, North West Nigeria, stormed Takalmawa village in the early hours of Wednesday, May 22, killing four residents and abducting 17 others in a well-coordinated attack that sent shockwaves to neighbouring communities.

The sounds of gunfire abruptly awakened residents shortly after midnight as the attackers arrived. Witnesses told HumAngle that the heavily armed terrorists moved with chilling precision, breaking into homes, dragging people out, killing others, and rustling cattle.

According to Mahi Umar, a local resident whose three relatives were killed in the attack, three of the four people died instantly after fatal gunshots, while the other one died after he was taken to a hospital in Sabon Birni. He said the 17 people abducted included nine women and eight men.

He stated that though military units were dispatched to the scene, the majority of them arrived too late to avert the casualties and abductions. “After a distress call was placed, they came with one Hilux van, and after realising they were no match for the terrorists, they sent for reinforcement, which arrived late after the terrorists had left,” he explained.

Umar told HumAngle that the military presence in Gatawa and the entire Sabon Birni doesn’t deter the terrorists’ activities. According to him, most of the communities there have been under terrorist attacks for many years, and it has become the norm. 

“Every time one community is attacked, its neighbouring community is under fear that it will be the next. This has been the trend recently,” he said. 

According to him, Kurawa, a neighbouring community, was attacked two days ago. Another community, Sardauna, was also attacked ten days ago when they kidnapped two newlywed couples, and Kalgo was also attacked about a week ago when they kidnapped people and carted away animals bought from the Niger Republic. 

Another local told HumAngle that the terrorists are in control of many areas around Sabon Birni, where they levy taxes on farmers and have caused the displacement of thousands. 

He told HumAngle that the security guards stationed in Gatawa have resorted to self-defence rather than attacking the terrorists. According to him, whenever a distress call is placed on them, they come late, and many times, they stay behind, not going to where the terrorists operate.

“This has led the terrorists to devise a new strategy of splitting themselves into two groups,” he explained. “They first start kidnapping and later leave a few of them who shoot guns after they finish operations to divert the attention of the military,” he said. 

HumAngle reached out to the Sokoto State Police Public Relations Officer, Ahmad Rufai, who said he was notified of the attack but the official investigation was facing difficulties due to the poor network while gathering more information from the police divisional officer in the attacked community. 

He, however, promised to update HumAngle on their investigation when it’s ready.

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Aliyu Dahiru

Aliyu is an Assistant Editor at HumAngle and Head of the Radicalism and Extremism Desk. He has years of experience researching misinformation and influence operations. He is passionate about analysing jihadism in Africa and has published several articles on the topic. His work has been featured in various local and international publications.

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