President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered defence minister, Brigadier-General Mansur Mohammed Dan Ali (Rtd), to proceed immediately to Zamfara state, where bandits killed between 18 and 36 people on Wednesday, 14 February.
The President, who is now in Daura on a condolence visit to family members, asked the minister to undertake an on-the-spot assessment of the situation and report back.
The Nigerian leader strongly condemned the massacre in Birane village, Zurmi Local Government Area of Zamfara State, according to a statement by Media Adviser, Femi Adesina.
The President also commiserated with the families of victims of the heinous and inhuman attacks.
President Buhari has also directed security agencies to immediately mobilise and deploy their members to the vulnerable areas of the state, and ensure that the perpetrators are brought to face the full wrath of the law.
The President assured the Zamfara State government, victims of the mayhem and residents in the state, that the Federal Government will continue do all it can to support security agencies to secure lives and property, not only in the affected state but all parts of the country.
In a statement on Thursday, the Police Command in Zamfara admitted that 18 persons died in the attack, which appears to be a reprisal against the villagers for intercepting a suspected cattle rustler.
Independent sources put the death toll at 36.
The Public Relations Officer of the command, DSP Muhammad Shehu, said on Feb. 13, hunters from Birani village of Zurmi local government area intercepted and accosted a herder in the bush with some suspected stolen cattle and sheep.
“The herder abandoned the animals and escaped into the bush, but unknown to the hunters, the cattle rustler went to Isah Local Government Area of Sokoto State and mobilised bandits to attack the hunters.
“On Feb. 14, the bandits ambushed the hunters in the bush and there was a clash that led to fatalities on both sides.
“Police/Military and other sister agencies reacted by combing the bush and it’s environs to salvage the situation and discovered 18 dead bodies.
“It is believed that the bandits took away their own members that were killed. Meanwhile, bush combing is in progress so as to further profile the area.
“Mobile policemen/Special forces and other security personnel from other sister security agencies have already been deployed to the area to restore peace and stability,” he said.
The spokesman also said that the command’s Intelligence Unit had already embarked on investigation to arrest the perpetrators of the attack.