By Ayo Fadimu
Gunmen suspected to be Bandits have attacked Haske Baptist Church in Manini Tasha village, Chukun Local Government Area of Kaduna state, killing a medical medical identified as Dr. Zakariah Dogo Yaro just as no fewer than eight security operatives are feared killed when gunmen suspected to be members of the Indigenous People of Biafra launched a night attack on two checkpoints along the Airport Road, Omahwa in Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State.
Apart from Dr Dogo Yaro, a medical doctor with the Kaduna State Ministry of Health, an unspecified number of worshippers were also abducted by the gunmen who invaded the church around 10am.
The Kaduna State Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan confirmed the incident to journalists.
A member of the church who pleaded anonymity told our Correspondent that the bandits upon their arrival surrounded the church and started shooting sporadically at the worshipers who scampered for safety in different directions.
In a similar development, armed bandits invaded Bagoma community in Birnin Gwari Local Government Area of the northwestern state and killed six indigenes.
Bandits also attacked Amfu village in Kachia council area where they shot a woman to death.
While reacting to the incident, Governor Nasir El-Rufai condemned the attack by bandits on a place of worship in Chikun and other parts of the state.
He described them as shocking acts of depraved persons far removed from humanity.
The governor who roundly denounced the attack on the church added that attacking innocent worshipers who were exercising their natural and lawful rights to assembly, represented the worst kind of evil.
He, however, sent his heartfelt condolences to the families of the deceased and the Haske Baptist church, while also praying for the repose of the souls of the slain and speedy recovery for the injured.
Kaduna State has witnessed a surge in banditry and kidnapping in recent years; schools and students have been the major targets.
Despite the rise in kidnapping with the perpetrators demanding ransom, the Kaduna government has insisted that it will not succumb to blackmail, vowing not to pay a dime to the criminals.
“We have a feeling that the renewed attacks in Kaduna are not unconnected to the position that we have taken as a government that we will not negotiate with criminals,” said the governor who was a guest on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics
“We will not give them any money and they will not make any profit from Kaduna; anyone that comes to Kaduna will not get a penny from the state government, except he will get a bullet instead.”
On its part, the Police command in the state, said apart from those killed and injured, the gunmen abducted four worshippers.
The command spokesman, ASP Mohammed Jalige, in a statement, described the attack as unfortunate.
“Preliminary investigation conducted so far revealed that, four persons are missing which arouses suspicion that they might have been kidnapped by the hoodlums.
“Two others sustained gunshot wounds, namely; Dr. Zakariya Doga Yaro, a staff of Kaduna State Ministry of Health attached to the Primary Healthcare Center in Rimi village, Udawa, Chikun LGA and Shehu Haruna.
“Unfortunately, Dr. Zakariya Yaro died on the spot while Shehu Haruna is currently receiving medical treatment.
“Consequently, normalcy has since been restored; security has been beefed up in the area with a view to forestalling reoccurrence of the dastardly attack while concerted effort is ongoing to locate the missing persons.
“The Command is deeply saddened by this unprovoked attack on innocent citizens carrying out their legitimate daily routine and commiserate with the affected families,” Jalige stated.
Meanwhile, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Kaduna State branch, has condemned the attack and called on government to act fast to prevent citizens from resorting to self help.
A statement issued on Sunday in Kaduna by its Secretary, Rev. Caleb Ma’aji, said government must live up to its responsibility of securing the lives and property of all citizens.
“Our hearts are saddened over the sorry security situation in our dear state.
“It has grown so unfortunate and on a daily basis, insecurity continues to grow worse with no appreciable resistance given the unholy terrorists who have continued to hold our dear state and nation to ransome.”
It said that the attacks was a challenge to government to find ways of guaranteeing the security of lives and property of all citizens.
“Our hearts goes to the local church at Manini, the Nigeria Baptist Convention and family members of the deceased.
“We are appealing to relevant agencies and praying for the safe release of the abducted members and indeed all others in captivity.
“We also enjoin all men and women of Goodwill to wake up and do the needful before we are all consumed by the ongoing evil of banditry and kidnapping that has hijacked our country especially Kaduna state,” it added.
In related development, the Police Command in Rivers said it has launched a manhunt for gunmen who attacked its checkpoints on the Port Harcourt – Owerri Road on Sunday.
Our Correspondent gathered that the attack which occurred on Ikwerre Local Government Area stretch of the road, reportedly led to the death of some security operatives.
A source who pleaded for anonymity said that several patrol vehicles belonging to the security operatives were set ablaze by gunmen.
The Spokesman of the command, SP Nnamdi Omoni, who confirmed the attack in a statement in Port Harcourt on Sunday, said details of the attacks were still sketchy.
Omoni, however, did not disclose the number of casualties in the attacks.
He said, “I can confirm the attack on security personnel along the Omagwa/Isiokpo/Elele – Owerri Road, and details are sketchy.
“The Commissioner of Police, CP Eboka Friday, has launched a full scale investigation into the dastardly attack with a view to arresting the perpetrators and bringing them to justice.
“Meanwhile, the area is now calm with reinforced and increased joint patrols on the stretch of the road and other areas in the state by security agencies.
“So far, the state is calm and secure, and no cause for alarm,” Omoni stated.
Nigerian NewsDirect further gathered that the checkpoints attacked by gunmen included checkpoints manned by the Joint Military Task Force (JTF) and Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) located between Elele, Isiokpo and Omagwa communities in Rivers.