Sunday, 23 June 2013

IG deploys policemen, helicopter in Zamfara over killings

The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, has deployed a mass of policemen in Zamfara State, following the killing of 48 persons by gunmen believed to be herdsmen.

Abubakar also ordered that a helicopter be permanently stationed in the North-West zone for aerial surveillance and to increase security coverage of the zone, which is witnessing violence and impunity by armed gangs.

It was learnt that the police found it difficult to secure the state on account of its massive land mass and the numerous villages that are separated by long distances.

This, it was learnt, made it difficult for police personnel to patrol the villages.

The Deputy Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, confirmed that a police helicopter would be stationed in the North-West zone to provide aerial surveillance for Zamfara and other states in the zone.

He said, “The police will station a helicopter in the zone to provide effective aerial surveillance for the states; the IG has issued an order to that effect and I’m sure such heinous crimes will be curbed with the deployment of the chopper and more personnel in Zamfara State.”

The deployment of policemen and a chopper followed the killing of people in Kizara village by gunmen on motorcycles last Tuesday.

Dozens of gunmen had laid siege to the village, firing indiscriminately for about five hours. They went house-to-house, shooting men dead, saying they were looking for vigilante men who had been threatening them.

Some of the gunmen also climbed a nearby hill and shot fleeing residents as well as people coming from neighbouring villages to offer support.

Among the 48 people killed were the village head, the chief imam, his deputy and leader of the vigilante group.

The gunmen also burnt many houses and shops before fleeing the village around 9am.

The attack happened just two days after police personnel stationed in the area were redeployed.

Zamfara State over the past two years had suffered violent attacks from rampaging gunmen starting with an 
August 2011 attack in which 19 people were killed at Lingyado town.

In November 2012, 20 people were shot dead in Kabaro town. A month earlier, 27 were killed in Dangulbi, while in Birnin Magaji 15 were killed in February 2012.