Ungwan Rana village popularly called “Small Lagos” of Bitaro community is about 10 minutes drive from Kwoi, the headquarters of Jaba Local government area of Kaduna State. It has a peaceful and serene environment.
However, its peaceful serene was punctured on the midnight of September 17, 2011, till the wee hours of September 18, when some gunmen stormed the village, ransacked several compounds, killed three persons, and injured 11 others with deep cuts on different parts of their bodies.
The three killed included Hassan Daniel, 68, head of the family and father of the eyewitness, Yusuf Hassan. Also killed were Istifanus Daniel and Godiya Tokura, just as the gunmen set ablaze a thatched roofed kitchen within one of the compounds.
Our reporter who visited the scene of the incident discovered that on the door of one of the houses that one of the dead victims lived had this inscription: “Let my enemy live long and see what I will become in future.”
Those on the danger list at the Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital (ABUTH), Shika, Zaria, and Barau Diko Specialist Hospital, Kaduna, are Juma Hassan, Monday Hassan, Abigail Monday, Juma Dauda, Nuhu Dauda, Godiya Dauda, Patience Dauda, Janet Daniel, Auta Daniel, Talatu Istifanus and Ola Dauda.
Yusuf Hassan, 37, a student of College of Education, Gidan Waya, who was on holiday at the time of the incident recalled his experience, saying that as soon as the gunmen entered his father’s compound, they started breaking doors and windows of their houses. Yusuf added that when his father heard the loud noise and shouting of other of his siblings, he rushed out of the room to ascertain what was happening. That was the last he heard of his father. He was shot dead on the spot by the attackers as soon he came into the compound from his room.
He said he escaped being killed by the gun brandishing men who covered their faces because he managed to find his way into the ceiling of his father’s house where he hid himself until the killers finished their business:
“It was around 12 midnight. As we were sleeping, my father heard gunshot and he rushed out. Then someone came from somewhere around our compound and shot him and kicked him with the gun. I heard my father, mother and brothers, everybody crying that night.
“At this point, I tried to rush out to see what was happening. But as I rushed out I saw some people with guns and knives and torch. They surrounded all the houses, and I became confused. I rushed back to the house and climbed into the ceiling. Immediately I climbed the ceiling, two people came into the room with knives and torch, looking for whoever was in the room.
“I was seeing and listening to them from the ceiling till they finished the operation and left. I came down from the ceiling and shouted that some gunmen have killed everybody in our house, who will help us, who will help us, I started crying. Then people came out and we started moving from house to house. It was at this point that I discovered that my father was already dead. Also one of my uncles was killed along with a sister. The number of people attacked was 13, out of which three were dead, and 10 seriously injured. The police came and took them to the hospital.
“While I was hiding in the ceiling, I heard those gunmen speaking Fulani language because I also understand the language. They spoke like this, ‘dege dege,’ and they also said ‘aloo!, aloo!!’ Meaning leave!, leave!! Some of them covered their faces, and others did not. My father is gone forever, all my brothers are in the hospital.”
The district head of the community, Dauda Gimba, spoke on the incident: “The day the incident took place, I was not aware until few minutes after the thing had happened. I only saw people running to the heart of the Bitaro village and headed to my house. I then inquired of them of what was amiss, they told me that some persons are killing people in our village.
At this point, I summoned all the members of the vigilante group in the village.
“Before we could reach the scene of the incident, the hoodlums had already gone. Since then we have reinforced the security around our community, and we have not seen or heard them come back. Then I asked the people that are keeping vigil to return to their houses. Three of our people were killed, and about nine are receiving treatment in the hospital. We have never witnessed this type of incident in this area.”
According to the medical director, General Hospital, Kafanchan, Dr. Samson Dogo Nok, the deep cuts inflicted on the victims may have resulted from a very sharp instruments used on them:
“On Sunday, September 18, 2011, at about 11 am, some people who were said to be assaulted by gunmen were brought to this hospital with various injuries on the shoulders, in the necks, abdomen and the limps, deep cuts. We stabilized them in the theatre, and informed the Ministry of Health, and our directors came here and saw them. We told them that they needed to be refered, so they went back to Kaduna and helped us with logistics. Ambulances were sent, and eight of the victims were referred to either Barau Diko Specialist Hospital, Kaduna or ABUTH, Shika, Zaria.
“Their conditions are really very critical having sustained deep cuts, very deep cuts at the back of their necks and other parts of their bodies. I want to believe that very sharp instruments were used considering the deep cuts.”
The Jaba Local Government chairman, Joseph Maigari, said he did not believe that the attack was a spillover of the Jos crisis: “Even if they said so, the fact that we have not been able to locate and identify the culprits, makes it difficult for us to make any serious conclusion. If you locate and identify the culprits, then you will be able to make that kind of deduction. If you make that kind of deduction, we do not know, and this is why it has become very challenging for us. We were officially informed that three persons were killed, and about nine were injured in the attack.”
Maigari made cash donation to the victims on behalf of the council at a brief ceremony in the village on September 21, 2011. The donation of N70, 000 each to the deceased families, and N50,000 each to the injured victims were received by their children and relations. “This money we are donating to you is nothing compared to human life, no amount of money can bring back the dead. So all you need to do is to be security conscious all the time, and report any ugly situation to the police or any other security agencies, never take law into your hands, and I have to thank you for maintaining peace all this while,” he said.
He reminded the people to reinforce the vigilante security network put in place by the community so that such incident would not take them by surprise in future, just as he prayed for the repose of the souls of the deceased and quick recovery of the injured persons. He warned the youths to stay off illicit gin, “so that you can better your life, and have longer life span because you are the backbone of this community. We can boast of future engineers, doctors and other professionals among you.”
The village head, Ishaya Jok Aliyu, thanked the council chairman for the gesture: “We have never seen this kind of timely intervention and kind gesture in the life of this local government area.”
Meanwhile, the Police Public Relations Officer of the Kaduna State Police Command, DSP Aminu Lawan said, “there was an attack in Bitaro village and three persons were killed and some others were injured as a result of the attack, and we have drafted our men to all the bushes neighbouring the village with a view to arresting the perpetrators.”
The Sun News Online – Nigeria