Seven children have been reported dead in a stampede as residents of Shimfida, a community in Jibia Local Government Area of Katsina state on Thursday, March 10, 2022, fled their homes a few hours after soldiers serving in a joint security task force were withdrawn from the community.
The soldiers were stationed at Government Secondary School, Shimfida, about 27 Kilometres from Jibia town, the local council headquarters, until their withdrawal on Thursday.The security agents had been in the community for eight years but they were suddenly evacuated from the area on Thursday without any notice to the residents in the community.
A source told Saturday Vanguard that the commotion was triggered when residents of the community heard series of gunshots suspected to be from the bandits camp, causing them to run helter skelter.
Kabir Haruna, the councillor for Shimfida ward in the local council said the presence of the security agents had provided the community a sense of protection from attack by bandits, thus the residents feared that the withdrawal of the soldiers on Thursday had suddenly made the community vulnerable.
Their fear appeared to be confirmed when they heard volleys of gunshots in the surrounding hills.
However, it was gathered from the residents that the bandits were only celebrating the withdrawal of the security agents from the neighbourhood, an indication that the coast was clear for their criminal activities.
“The presence of the security agents in the community gave the residents the courage to continue to live here despite the incessant bandits’ attack recorded in the area but since they have been withdrawn, our people felt they could no longer remain in the community without the protection of the military”, a resident said.
According to one of them, “over a thousand people from Shimfida are presently seeking refuge at Tashar Furera, a pilot primary school in Jibia town while others have escaped to Gurbin Baure, a community in Niger Republic”.
Both the police and the military are yet to issue an official statement on the development. Jibia is one of the worse hit local governments by bandits terrorrising Katsina State.