One of the initial survivors of the bandits’ attack in which 23 passengers of a bus were burnt to death in Sokoto State has died after narrating her ordeal.
The 30-year-old woman, who was receiving treatment at the Usman Danfordiyo University Teaching Hospital, Sokoto, for burns sustained during the incident, had revealed that her mother and children were victims of the attack.
Recounting her ordeal, the woman identified as Shafa’atu said there were 33 elderly persons and many children in the vehicle when it was attacked by armed men believed to be loyal to Bello Turji, a notorious bandits’ kingpin terrorising the Eastern part of Sokoto.
Shafa’atu said the bandits opened fire on the vehicle, forcing it to somersault.
The men reportedly stood back to watch their victims die after an explosion occurred thereafter.
She had said, “They kept firing at our vehicle until it somersaulted three times and burst into flames. Only I and one other passenger miraculously came out of the bus but the other passenger later died from gunshot injuries.
“I lost my four children, three girls who were grown up and my 10-month-old baby. I watched them, including my mother, maternal uncle, nephew and niece burn to ashes while the attackers were watching with delight.”
The incident had attracted global outrage including from human rights’ body, Amnesty International, which said President Muhammadu Buhari and the security agencies had failed in securing the country.
Amnesty International had lamented in a statement days ago that perpetrators of such attacks had not been brought to justice.
It had added that the situation left Sokoto and other parts of the North feeling completely let down and helpless.
“Amnesty International is appalled by killing of dozens of travellers in Isa Local Government Area of Sokoto State. According to the Sokoto Government, 23 persons died of injuries sustained from burns after bandits shot at a bus conveying travellers from Sokoto to Kaduna.
“The Nigerian authorities have left rural communities in Sokoto State at the mercy of rampaging gunmen who have killed hundreds in the last two years. On 28 May, at least 74 people were reportedly killed in Sokoto State, when gunmen attacked four villages in Sabon Birni Local Government Area.
“The violence has forced many farmers and their families to flee their homes. This is pushing the region to the brink of a major humanitarian crisis. The Nigerian authorities’ failure to stem the violence is costing people’s lives and livelihoods, and without immediate action, many more lives may be lost,” Amnesty International had said.
SaharaReporters, New York