Suspected gunmen on Tuesday stormed Balle community in Gudu Local Government Area of Sokoto State and shot dead its tradition ruler, Aliyu Ibrahim, a source has said.

The witness told newsmen the gunmen stormed the community on motorcycles shooting sporadically in the air.

He said residents ran into hiding to avoid being hit by stray bullets.

He added that the gunmen then went straight to Balle police station where they burned down patrol vehicles and the building before moving to the palace of the district head. They gunned him down in cold blood, said the source, who requested not to be named for security reasons.

The Nigerian Army had earlier announced a ban on the use of motorcycles in seven northern states including Sokoto to curb the rising spate of violence.

Balle is the headquarters of c Local Government Area, and an ancient community. In 1804, it was the capital of Sokoto caliphate. It shares boundary with the Republic of Niger.

“The gunmen, upon arrival to the emir’s palace, found the compound gate was locked. They, however, jumped through the fence while others were stationed outside. After killing the district head, they rode their motorcycles and fled,” the witness said.

He added that it is not clear whether they killed security personnel at the police station.

He said no civilian was reported killed during the attack, “as the gunmen were allegedly from Niger Republic, and were on a plan revenge attack targeting only the district head.”

The source said many residents attributed the killing to vengeance as the traditional leader was the one who allegedly reported the activities of the bandits to security agencies.

The police in Sokoto are yet to speak on the incident. The spokesperson, Muhammad Sadiq, did not pick or return calls to his phone Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.

A Twitter user, @Nasirmagori, also lamented the killing of the traditional ruler.

The Sokoto attack comes a day after the Emir of Katsina, Abdulmumini Usman, lamented the insecurity in the state.

“Every day I receive reports of kidnapping and killings from the district and village heads,” the emir said.

Nigerians have criticised President Muhammadu Buhari for not doing enough to tackle the security situation across the country.

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