For the people of Madauchi village, Zangon Kataf Local Government Area of Kaduna State, the tears would not dry so soon. What they thought would end up being an ordinary day in the lives of so many of them has turned out tragic.
When the day broke on Wednesday, there were no foreboding signs that danger was lurking in the wings of the night. However, in the twilight of the day, marauding gunmen attacked the village, leaving on their trail, blood, death and sorrow.
Six people, all of them members of the same household, were killed in the attack by unknown gunmen, whose motive has not been ascertained. The gunmen, numbering 20, had sneaked into the villagers at about 11pm, and struck at their targets, which many believed were randomly picked.
The gunmen, suspected to be Fulani herdsmen, were said to have first attacked the residence of one Mr. Yakubu Kayit, which they torched. Kayit and members of his family who were fast asleep were rudely woken up by the searing heat and a cloud of acrid smoke from the fire. Spurred by the instinct to survive, their reflexes took over as everybody attempted to scamper to safety. However, they lost the battle to remain alive... as members of the household, including a pregnant woman, were burnt to death. Only a five-year-old girl survived.
Eyewitnesses said that shortly after setting Kayit’s house on fire, the gunmen started shooting sporadically into the air for over 30 minutes to deter the people from embarking on a counter-attack.
With no weapon to repel their attackers, the villagers were said to have ran into the bushes for safety.
Narrating how the invaders came into the village, a resident, Emmanuel Danboyi, said Thursday that they had earlier in the day noticed a truck parked by the roadside and the trailer disappeared immediately after the incident.
“During the day time, we saw a trailer parked, but at about 11pm when we had gone to bed, we began to hear gunshots for several minutes. I had to evacuate my family to a safe place. We later discovered that all the people in the house they set ablaze were burnt beyond recognition,” he said.
The incident reportedly sparked-off massive protest by hundreds of youths in the village who accused security agencies in the area of complicity in the attack, adding that the military were withdrawn from the checkpoints around the village before the attack.
According to the National President of Bajju Youth Association (BYA), Gad Ezekiel, the attackers killed all members of the same family.
The Chairman of Zangon Kataf Local Government Area, Mr. Dominic Yahaya, while reacting to the attack in a telephone interview, confirmed that six members of a family were killed.
Confirming the incident, the spokesman of the Kaduna State Police Command, Mr. Aminu Lawan, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), said he got reports that there was an attack on the village.
Lawan, however, said five people were killed in the attack, adding that security had been beefed up in the area. The police have also commenced investigation into the incident with a view to arresting the attackers and their sponsors.
The state government condemned the killing, saying that it was a deliberate attempt by mischievous people who want to frustrate the peace efforts by the government.
A statement by the Senior Special Assistant to Governor Patrick Yakowa on Media, Mr. Reuben Buhari, said the governor was saddened that while all efforts were being made to ensure peace and stability in the state, some people were bent at perpetrating evil.
“His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Kaduna State is truly saddened by the gory incident of Wednesday, 14th November, 2011 in Madauchi, Zangon Kataf Local Government.
“More saddening is the fact that this incident came in when more concerted effort by this government, through the Peace and Reconciliation Committee, is being made to entrench lasting and sustainable peace in Kaduna State.
“But even in the face of such unwarranted and deliberate attempt to incite and create chaos, the state government will not be deterred in its quest of ensuring a secured and united Kaduna State” the statement said.