Armed ViolenceNews

How Vigilante Group’s Rampage Triggered Reprisal Attacks In Zamfara Communities

Terrorists in Zamfara, Northwest Nigeria, killed scores of villagers and displaced over 1,000.

The killing of about 47 people and displacement of over 1,000 by terrorists occurred in Maiduma, Babban-Baye, Tungar-Rogo, Bunkasau, Tungar Jando, Tungar-Fayafayi, Tungar-Dutsi, Tungar-Namatsafa, Gana, Kamaru, Kwali, Bardi, Mari, Kimi, and Galamu villages, all in Zamfara State, Northwest Nigeria in the early hours of Thursday, June 17, 2021.

The gruesome attack is a reprisal against Yan Sakai, a local vigilante group in the villages that surround Nasarawa Burkullu of Bukkuyum, and Anka Local Government Areas of Zamfara State.

An eyewitness, Alhaji Bello Maishago Nasarawa, told HumAngle that the terror attack was in retaliation to an earlier one that targeted individuals from the Fulani ethnic group on Monday, June 14.

During the vigilante raid and house-to-house search in Nasarawa Burkullu, several people were killed including one Alhaji Shehu Kamaru.

Another eyewitness, Dayyabu Adamu told HumAngle that the vigilante group used their knives and machetes to remove some parts of the dead victims for “reason best known to them.”

“The unjust activities of the Yan Sakai was to find and kill Fulani inexplicably. During the killing of the Fulanis in Nasarawa earlier on Monday, the Yansaki were sighted removing eyeballs, penis, ear and other parts of the dead bodies,” Adamu alleged.

Nasiru Salisu, a local teacher, also alleged the removal of body parts.

“Whatever happened to the villages of the vigilante groups, were caused by themselves,” said Mustapha Yususa, a resident of Narasawa Burkullu town.

Yunusa added that “we have been living in peace with all the Fulanis here in Nasarawa for a long time. In fact, we do not have any vigilante members in the entire Narasawa Burkullu town. All of a sudden these people came to our town and ambushed Fulanis unfairly and unjustly.”

He said: “the vigilante group claimed that all the Fulanis living in Nasarawa are the parents and siblings of the terrorists, which the Nasarawa people accommodated.”

HumAngle in a 2020 report highlighted the ban placed on the Yan Sakai vigilante group notorious for profiling and targeting members of the Fulani pastoralists community, accusing them of having links to bandits, a local name for terror gangs usually from fulani extraction.

This has played a significant role in sustaining the conflict and hostilities between Fulani herders and mostly Hausa farming communities.

Yunusa told HumAngle that the violence has led to displacement of many people. “As I speak to you, I cannot exactly count the number of women that have been made widows, whose husbands were innocently killed by the terrorists today,” he said.

“So also, I cannot give you the figure of children that have become orphans. Now over one thousand residents have been displaced with nowhere to sleep.”

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