By Ismaila Chafe
President Muhammadu Buhari said he is “pained beyond words” by the news of the new wave of killings on election eve in Kajuru, Kaduna State, according to a statement by Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu.
President Buhari, who reacted to the reported killings in Kajuru local government area, Kaduna State, described the incident as an “act of cowardice”.
He assured that security forces would investigate and apprehend all those involved.
“The perpetrators of this mayhem will not go unpunished,’’ he said.
The president said this action will not distract the nation from the elections starting on Saturday, assuring that his government is determined to foil the designs of those who are bent on disrupting the exercise.
The Kaduna state government had on Friday evening, in a statement, confirmed that 66 persons were killed by unidentified gunmen in Kajuru local government of the state.
The government condemned the killing of 66 persons in Kajuru LGA and has warned all communities against instigating attacks or reprisals.
A government statement said that security agencies have been deployed to the area, while arrests have been made.
“Security agencies today reported the recovery of 66 bodies that were killed in attacks by criminal elements on various dispersed hamlets in the Maro Gida and Iri axis of Kajuru LGA. The settlements affected include Ruga Bahago, Ruga Daku, Ruga Ori, Ruga Haruna, Ruga Yukka Abubakar, Ruga Duni Kadiri, Ruga Shewuka and Ruga Shuaibu Yau.
“Among the victims were 22 children and 12 women. Four wounded persons rescued by the security agencies are now receiving medical attention.
“Government condemns the attacks and commiserates with the families of the victims. Security agencies have been deployed to the area and arrests have been made. Government urges community, traditional and religious leaders in the area to encourage residents to avoid any reprisal attacks and to leave the matter in the hands of the security and law enforcement agencies. The killings are being investigated and residents are assured that indicted persons will be prosecuted.
“Residents of Kaduna State are enjoined to uphold peace and harmony, shun violence and allow the elections to be held in an atmosphere of calm. Any suspicious activity should be reported to the security agencies in person or through the following lines: 09034000060 and 08170189999.”