By Ralph Madugu
Num community in Lere District of Tafawa Balewa LGA of Bauchi has been thrown into mourning following an attack on the community on the night of May 9, 2022.
For 40-year-old mother of six, Mrs. Naomi Tawus, the memory of what happened to her sister in-law, Paulina Alhamdu who was with her at the time of the attacks, was such a traumatic experience that would not go away in a hurry.
Narrating her experience to Today’s Challenge magazine, Mrs. Tawus said “We were seated outside our house with my in-law, Paulina Alhamdu, suddenly we heard gunshots around our community and we did not know what was really happening. While we tried scampering for safety, Paulina could not run. She was shot dead. I was able to escape. That was what I can remember.”
Another survivor, 30-year-old Mr. Zakka Mato, and a father of 3, narrated his ordeal: “Yesterday (Monday 9,2022) at 8:09, we were at Rimi in Num where we were chatting, we noticed 4 persons coming towards our direction. They were wearing uniform like that of Vigilante and they masked their faces. We heard one of them speaking English but the others did not talk.
“We were four and they were not far from us. We thought they were coming to join us since it was a meeting point. Suddenly, we started hearing gunshots. A small boy shouted when the sound of the gunshots increased, they boy was shouting “it is a lie, it is knock out, it is a lie…” So, we did not bother about the gunshots because we assumed it was the sound of knock-out.
“Then the second attacker started shooting. Instantly, three persons were gunned down. One Kefas Sarki and two others, including an old man and another woman from the same family.
“In our attempt to run, myself and the other lady, but unfortunately, the she was hit by a bullet and she felt to the ground. While I tried to escape, I was hit by two bullets in the leg. I managed and hid myself. It was then they went further shooting sporadically. They came from the direction of Kal and took the same route.”
Speaking to Today’s Challenge on the attacks, National Leader of Zaar Youth Development Association, ZAYODA, Comrade GaAllah Daniel said:
“I received a call in the night that some unknown gunmen attacked Num community in Tafawa Balewa LGA and the next day I visited the community to see for myself. I discovered that 3 lives were lost and 5 others were injured. I tried to find out who were those responsible for attackers but they people could not identify the attackers.
“We moved the injured to Sara clinic in Tafawa Balewa for first aid and later moved them to the General Hospital and we were later referred to Plateau State Specialist Hospital.
“I am calling on our people to remain calm since the security agencies are there and investigations are on. The synergy between the security and community leaders as they have given us the benefit of doubt that the perpetrators are apprehended and brought to book.
“Government should wake up to its responsibility of protecting the citizens.
If something happened and government is mute, it breeds tension among the people.”
Youth leader of Bogoro chapter of ZAYODA, Comrade Yuwa Habila, who was among those who conveyed the injured to Jos said, “There was an attack carried out in Num community in Tafawa Balewa on the night of Monday 9 between 8 and 9pm by unknown gunmen. I called them unknown since we don’t know those behind the attack. They opened fire on the community. 5 persons including 4 women and a man sustained various gun injuries while 3 persons have been confirmed dead.
“Immediately, the security was alerted and they swiftly responded and visited the area despite the distance.
“This attack was a surprise to us because we have never envisaged that such a thing could happen because the people have been living peacefully with each other.”
While appealing to government to come to the aid of the community, the youth leader called on government and security agencies to rise up to the occasion.
He also appealed to the affected community to remained vigilant at all times and identify strange faces in the community.
“I am calling on government to establish police outpost in areas that are far from the state capital so that they can swiftly respond to emergencies such as this.
“For us, the youth, we have continually encouraged our members to be on alert at all times to ensure that we are not taken unawares and ensure we secure our communities.”
The bodies of those killed in the attack on Num have been laid to rest in the area.
The attack in Num community is coming months after the Nigerian Army raised an alarm over the what it described as traces of bandits in Bauchi, Plateau and Taraba states.
Recall that the General Officer Commanding 3 Armoured Division of the Nigerian Army, Major General Ibrahim Salau Aliyu, during a visit to Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State, said, “Recently we have been having traces of bandits around the three states of Plateau, Taraba and Bauchi States.”
Similarly, the warning by the GOC came months after Governor Bala Mohammed had raised alarm about aircrafts hovering in parts of the state.
As at the time of this report, six soldiers were reportedly killed in an attack by gunmen in Tati in Takum LGA of Taraba State.
The gunmen, who came in large numbers and invaded the village around 10 pm on Tuesday May 10, were said to have engaged the troops of 93 battalion in a fierce gun battle.
But the men overpowered the troops, killing six soldiers and abducting one commanding officer while a police officer was reportedly killed while homes were razed down.