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Six killed as bandits, vigilantes clash in Sokoto market

A clash between suspected bandits and vigilantes, locally known as Yan Sakai, in the Gada Local Government Area of Sokoto State has resulted in the deaths of six individuals. The incident occurred on Thursday night (April 18, 2024).

According to a source in the area who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the matter, the vigilantes sought revenge for the killing of their leader, Alhaji Dahiru, by a suspected bandit. The clash began when a leader of the Gidan Hashimu village vigilantes attempted to arrest and interrogate a notorious cattle rustler seen loitering in the market.

At the height of the crisis, the suspected bandits reportedly shot and killed the vigilantes’ leader, sparking a reprisal by members of the vigilantes. Before the police arrived at the market, more than six people had been killed, while some sustained gunshot wounds while running for cover to save their lives.

Provoked by the killing of their two leaders, the vigilantes in the area launched a reprisal on Fulani communities, where over 50 people were allegedly summarily executed by the rampaging group. “As I speak to you now, I and my family are in hiding to avoid another reprisal by the suspected bandits,” the eyewitness said.

Confirming the incident, a member of the state House of Assembly representing the area, Kabiru Gada, stated that the suspected bandit leader resisted arrest by the vigilantes and gruesomely killed their leader. “He later resisted and instantly shot and stabbed the vigilantes’ leader in Gidan Hashimu village to death which prompted reprisal against the Fulani from members of the vigilantes. The report at my disposal shows that many people were killed, some with injuries sustained from gunshots fired by both sides; some Fulani and vigilantes lost their lives,” Gada added.

The spokesman for the state police command, ASP Ahmed Rufa’i, confirmed the incident, stating that six persons lost their lives during the incident. “We are still investigating to unravel the remote cause of the problems and bring those behind it to book,” he added.

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