By Sam Kayode
Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State
on Wednesday led members of his exco as well as other top government officials on a condolence visit to the people of Illela, a border town about 97 kilometers from the state capital.
Armed bandits had attacked the town and some villages in it’s trail in the wee hours of Monday, leaving at least thirteen people dead instantly after their shooting spree.
However, as at the time of the Governor’s visit Wednesday afternoon the death toll had risen to 43 because many unaccounted for were found dead later, said the special adviser on media and publicity, Mohammed Abba in a release made available to metrowatchonline.com
A district head in one of the five villages, Kamalo, Munwadata, Sarwa, Runji and Masada. that were attacked during the midnight raid, was equally wounded.
Gov Tambuwal told his bereaved audience that: “We’re here to, on behalf of the government and good people of our dear state, to extend our heartfelt condolences on this unfortunate incident which claimed the lives of many of our citizens.
“This is not a small occurrence. It is upsetting,” he stated, emphasizing that: “this incident really touched us.” And that was why he had to move a large delegation to commiserate with them over the unfortunate loss of their loved ones.
He, however, commended the local government authorities, monarchs and community leaders for their lawful composition of a volunteer group working in tandem with the security operatives in the area to stem the tide of the bandits.
The governor said that the state government “will continue to frown upon the constitution of illegitimate volunteers,” pointing out that “the joint operations of legitimately constituted volunteers, who work closely with and under the supervision of security agencies, is the appropriate antidote to this crisis.
Tambual appealed to the people of the area not to be daunted by the recent attack. “Instead, it should motivate you all to redouble your efforts, without seeking revenge, in securing your communities,” he said.
The Governor assured the community of sustained government assistance “whenever required”, while praying for the repose of the souls of the deceased.
“We, therefore, pray that God grant them eternal glory and forgive their shortcomings and sins while they were alive.
“May He also grant their families and relatives the fortitude to bear the losses of those who died just as we besiege Him to grant health and relief to those who sustained injuries and are recuperating at home and in the hospitals.
“We again pray to God to continue to ensure that peace prevails in all our communities and across the country.
“I, once again, urge you to be patient and prayerful. I am delighted with the communal efforts at cooperation and prayers, led by the monarchs and community leaders here, being offered for the intercession of God in bringing us peace.
“Please, do not relent. May Allah grant us peace and peaceful coexistence,” he prayed.