Gunmen kill 15, kidnap 6 women in Zamfara

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…As UN Migration Agency seeks $122m to support displaced people in South Sudan***

Police in Zamfara on Tuesday confirmed the killing of 15 persons, one of them a woman who resisted being kidnapped, as gunmen kidnapped six women in Gusau local government area of the State.

Public Relations Officer of the command, SP Muhammad Shehu, made the confirmation in a statement in Gusau highlighted that there was an attack on Monday, in Wonaka, Ajja, Mada, Ruwan Baure, Doka, Takoka and Tudun-Maijatau villages of Mada district in Gusau area; during which the attackers also kidnapped six women and a man.

“Fortunately, with the efforts of police and sister security agencies, the abducted women have regained their freedom and have re-joined their families.

“Normalcy has been restored to the affected villages, with improved deployment of PMF, CTU, Special Forces and Military teams to the area to forestall further attack on neighbouring villages.

“The attack is presumably a reprisal to the attack on some Fulanis in a J5 vehicle on Feb. 1, 2019 where seven Fulanis and their animals were killed and set ablaze by the outlawed `Yansakai,’ he said.

In another development, the PPRO said that the District Head of Gwashi in Bukkuyum Local Government Area reported to the police that armed bandits stormed Batauna village and killed 11 persons and set houses ablaze.

He, however, said that the details were sketchy to the police due to distance and terrain inaccessibility and lack of GSM coverage in area.

“Units of PMF/CTU/Special Forces and military were mobilized to complement the effort of security personnel already on ground and also confirm the authenticity of the report.

“The entire area and environs have been subjected to co-ordinated bush-combing for possible arrest of the perpetrators.

“The command urges members of the public to avoid taking laws into their hands and always report all complaints and grievances to constituted authority for legal redress.

“Discreet investigation into this dastardly act has already commenced and all perpetrators will be fished out and made to face the full wrath of the law,” he said

In the meantime, the UN Migration Agency on Tuesday appealed for 122 million U.S. dollars to help nearly one million people displaced by South Sudan’s five-year-old conflict.

 The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said in a statement that the funds would be used to support displaced persons and over 80 aid agencies throughout 2019 in areas of health, migration management, psycho-social support, water and sanitation.

 “We need to support the people of South Sudan, as the country pursues a peaceful and stable future,’’ said Jean-Philippe Chauzy, IOM South Sudan Chief of Mission.

 “IOM has been implementing transition and recovery projects in South Sudan since the founding of the State in 2011. IOM is widely recognised as a trusted and reliable partner,’’ Chauzy said.

 South Sudan descended into conflict in late 2013, leaving more than four million people displaced. Almost two million are displaced internally.

 The UN agency said the new peace deal signed in September 2018 provides hope for peace and cautious optimism, adding that areas of stability and return are emerging, indicating there may soon be a broader return of displaced communities.

 “Although some people have decided to return home, or have indicated that they will do so soon, many are still living in displacement sites,’’ Chauzy said.

 “They will not be able to return in 2019. So, notwithstanding the signing of the revitalised peace agreement, conflict-related displacement continues, albeit on a smaller scale than in the past,’’ Chauzy said.

 “As the road to sustained peace is being paved, many familiar challenges persist,’’ he added.