The Kaduna State Government has confirmed the killing of 32 villagers in the Kajuru Local Government Area of the state.
This was contained in a statement issued by the commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, on Thursday.
The statement noted that “it received initial reports from security agencies, that bandits attacked the villages of Dogon Noma, Ungwan Sarki and Ungwan Maikori in Kajuru Local Government Area on Sunday.”
According to the reports, the bandits stormed the area in large numbers on motorcycles and proceeded to raze several houses, as they attacked and killed locals.
Since the attack on Sunday, security agencies and traditional leaders in the locations have been updating the government on the development.
The statement said that as of the time of this report, 32 persons have been confirmed dead following the attack.
While the Government mourned the gruesome killing and burning of houses in the attacked locations, a report was published suggesting that the victims of the attack were killed by terrorists using a helicopter.
“The Kaduna State Government wishes to make a clarification based on reports received since Sunday. The bandits attacked the first two locations and killed 31 citizens. They then headed into Ungwan Maikori, where they killed one person and burnt some houses.
“An Air Force helicopter (under Operation Whirl Punch) dispatched to the area, had earlier scanned the first two locations and sighted burnt houses and properties on fire.
“The helicopter intercepted the bandits at the last location (Ungwan Maikori) and engaged them as they retreated, before the arrival of ground troops to the general area.
“It was the arrival of the air asset which deterred the bandits from further attacks on the citizens in the village after the bandits had already killed one local and burnt several houses.
“The story that a helicopter provided air support to the bandits against the locals, is therefore an untrue account.
“The Government of Kaduna State having gone through all the facts finds it regrettable that a section of media would circulate an unverified report, insensitive to its implications on national security, law and order.
“Eyewitnesses to the peddled report of a helicopter aiding bandits in the killing of innocent citizens are invited to present their accounts to the Government-backed by incontrovertible facts.
“The military, police and other agencies working in the general area deserve commendation and motivation, rather than demoralising allegations.
“In the last 72 hours, security forces have conducted vigorous operations in the same general area, and are on the trail of a wounded notable terrorist.
“Similarly, several kidnapped victims, including an expatriate kidnapped at a mining site, were rescued after a fierce engagement with bandits.