19 traders killed as bandits invade Sokoto market

NEWS DIGEST – At least 19 traders were killed by bandits who raided a weekly market at Unguwan Lalle in Sabon Birni Local Government Area of Sokoto State on Friday.

The attack also left several others injured, majority of whom are currently receiving treatment at the General Hospital, Sabon Birni.

Daily Trust could not ascertain whether the attack was a reprisal as there have been tension since Yan Sakai, an outlawed vigilance group killed 11 men at Mamande’s weekly market on Thursday.

Unguwan Lalle, a community located along Goronyo-Sabon Birni road, has suffered a series of bandits attacks in recent months.

Five soldiers who were on a rescue mission in the area were ambushed and killed by bandits few months ago.

A resident told Daily Trust that, Friday’s attack happened during the market hours.

Daily Trust learnt that Unguwan Lalle market is among the popular markets in the eastern part of Sokoto state and is being patronised by traders from different parts of the state and from Zamfara, Kebbi and neighbouring Niger Republic.

However, the identities of the victims were not ascertained yet, but another source told our reporter that two biological brothers who trade in hide and skin were among those killed.

“The two brothers came to the market from the city. We just buried them at Tudun Wada cemetery in Sokoto South local government area,” our source said.

Daily Trust learnt that the attackers stormed the market shortly after all the traders had returned from the Juma’at congregational prayers.

“They came around 3pm, surrounded the market and started shooting sporadically.”

“I counted about 19 bodies and many were still unaccounted for,” it said

Confirming the attack, member representing Sabon Birni North, Aminu Almustapha Gobir, said the whole Sabon Birni was in a mourning state over the attack.

“Sabon Birni is under siege, this is what I have been telling you people and the government is not happy about it,” he said

Gobir, who witnessed the burial of the two brothers, noted that traders from different places were killed by the attackers.

However, the state government has blamed the traders for the attack because all rural markets in the eastern part of the state were banned as part of measures to curtail banditry.

The Commissioner for Carriers and Security Matters, Colonel Garba Moyi (rtd), stated this in an interview with our reporter.

“The state government has suspended markets in some parts of the state experiencing Banditry because these are where bandits are getting their goods.

“But some communities are not complying with this temporary measure despite the fact that it was for their own good,” he said

He said there was a task force comprising security agents, local government chairmen and representatives of district heads in each of the affected local government area.

“We will find out why they are not enforcing this order in their respective areas,” he said

Reacting to the Commissioner’s assertion, Gobir noted that, the executive order by the state government would not make any impact unless there was a serious military operation in the area.