No fewer than 20 people were yesterday killed by suspected bandits at Dogon Dawa village, Birnin Gwari Local Government area of Kaduna State.
At least, 18 others were said to have escaped with various degrees of injuries.
A source said those killed were cornered in a mosque but Kaduna State government and the state police command said in a swift reaction that nobody was killed in a mosque.
The police, however, said 12 persons were killed in the attack but gave no details.
Among those killed were a man and his two children, while his wife’s hand was crudely amputated by the bandits.
The incident was said to have occurred when the gunmen, said to have been responsible for series of robbery operations in the area in the past, struck.
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The bandits were said to have visited their anger on the community for allegedly killing some of their members.
A source told Vanguard that the bandits had formed a camp near Dogon Dawa, about 90 minutes drive from Kaduna town.
Said the source: “They were chased out by the Zamfara State government three months ago and came to settle in a bush near our village. They have been involved in many robbery incidents here.
“About two months ago, two of the bandits were caught and beaten to death and their camp was sacked. We rejoiced that they have left, only for them to return around 5am yesterday.”
He said on their arrival at the village, the bandits went to a house whose owner they suspected to be responsible for identifying their members and killed him and two of his children, while one of the wife’s hand was chopped off.
According to him, 17 people who were just coming from early morning prayers were killed by the gang.
Another source told Vanguard that in the wake of the insecurity faced by the villagers, a committee was formed to find ways of solving it.
“The criminals must have fled the village when they discovered that they no longer had a base there. But this morning, they came back and went to the house of the man they suspected to be responsible for identifying them, killed him and two of his children and cut the hand of his wife.
“They also killed 17 other people in the village. Those people they killed were just coming from the early morning prayers.
“I can confirm to you that it was not a robbery operation, but it was the criminals themselves that came for a reprisal attack because the people have been identifying them.
“The criminals had earlier sent messages that they were coming to attack the village, but their threat was not taken seriously.”
However, when contacted on telephone, Kaduna State Commissioner of Police, Olufemi Adenaike, said he would address the press on the matter, but could not do so at the time of this report.
He, however, said: “I heard some villagers arrested armed robbers, then some robbers came back today (Sunday) and killed 12 people in a reprisal attack, while the villagers killed two of them.
“The rumour going on that 20 people were killed while coming from mosque is not true, but I will get back to you when I get full details.”
Also, Kaduna State governor, Mr Patrick Yakowa, speaking through his media aide, Mr. Reuben Buhari, said: the reported incident at Dogon Dawa did not take place in a mosque as reported by some news channels.
“That is far from the truth. The police would soon give a correct detail of what happened.”