The Kaduna State Government on Thursday confirmed the killings of 32 in Kajuru Local Government Area, LGA, in the state.
The Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, disclosed this to the News Agency of Nigeria NAN in Kaduna on Thursday, and also debunked reports of aerial attacks by terrorists.
According to him, the state government received initial reports from security agencies, that bandits attacked the villages of Dogon Noma, Ungwan Sarki and Ungwan Maikori in Kajuru LGA 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 had been updating the government on the development.
“As of the time of this report, 32 persons have been confirmed dead following the attack, “he said
He stated that 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.
He was the helicopter that 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.
He said 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,” he said.
Mr Aruwan said eyewitnesses to the peddled report of a helicopter aiding bandits in the killing of innocent citizens were invited to present their accounts to the government-backed by incontrovertible facts.
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“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,” Mr Aruwan said.
He said Gov. Nasir El-Rufa’i, on receiving reports of the attack, expressed deep sadness and prayed for the repose of the victims’ souls.
He also conveyed his heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims.