One police officer was confirmed dead after suspected bandits attacked the Tofa and Samawa villages in Bungudu Local Government Area of Zamfara State, killing 41 farmers.
An indigene of the area, who gave his name as Malam Balarabe, said the bandits invaded the area when the farmers were planting their crops and others were clearing their farms.
“They came suddenly and began to shoot at the farmers, killing many of them,” Balarabe stressed.
He further explained that the bandits also blocked the road leading to the two villages where they also killed other farmers returning to their houses.
Balarabe maintained that a total number of 41 farmers lost their lives, adding that the bandits did not take anything from the two villages.
“Their mission was only to kill those who went to their farms,” Balarabe added.
The spokesperson of the state Police Command, Mohammed Shehu, said, “Combined Police Tactical operatives were not alerted until after they (bandits) might have finished their onslaught on Tofa community. We have yet to be ascertained the number of villagers that were killed.
“However, as the bandits left Tofa on their way to Samawa village for similar attack, the Police Tactical operatives stationed at Samawa village were quickly alerted where they mobilised and engaged the assailants in a serious gun battle that lasted for hours.
“As a result of the encounter, unspecified number of bandits was fatally injured (killed), while others escaped with possible gunshot wounds. No loss of life from the community in Samawa, but regrettably, a police operative paid the supreme price during the gun battle with the bandits,” Shehu added