Over 38 residents of Birnin-Wajje community in Nigeria’s northwestern state of Zamfara were found dead after two canoes capsized while moving them to safety across the Zauma river on Wednesday, according to locals.
“As I speak to you, nobody can give you the exact number of people kidnapped or the correct number of helpless farmers who lost their lives in the canoes,” said a resident, Salihu Umar.
“We are still searching for more corpses from the river where the canoes capsized. We have been able to trace 38 for now, among whom are women, children, including the old.”
“We have made arrangements to proceed for their burial on Thursday, September 6, at 10:am WAT.” The Village Head of Birnin-Wajje explained.
The attackers were said to have raided the community at about 6:30 p.m. and abducted an unknown number of people. The attack was also described as the first in the area.
“They suddenly invaded our village by foot at 6 p.m. Almost 50 of them with their guns. They began to shoot sporadically. This led to the eventual abduction of an unknown number of our loved ones,” said Lauwali Bawa, a resident who escaped the attack.
Another resident, Shehu Garba, said the sound from the gunfire scared him . “I had to run to the river bank and swam accross to Birnin-Zauma for my life.”
Shehu did not wait for the canoe because people on the river bank who were running for their lives were too much to be carried.
According to an eyewitness of the accident, Kabiru Magaji, “the two canoes were heavily crowded with people before it finally capsized in the water.”
“They usually attack our neighbouring communities, but this time brought a lot of bad luck to our people.”
The fatal accident was confirmed by the administrator of Bukuyum Local Government Council, Bashiru Muawiya, he told HumAngle “we are presently deploying all options to address the situation in the area.”
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