By Ahmad Ibrahim, Gusau
Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara State has approved the suspension of the Emir of Zurmi, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, over alleged complicity in banditry.
The suspension followed an attack on Friday by bandits in Zurmi Local Government Area of the state which claimed at least 61 lives.
The governor asked Bello Suleiman, who holds the traditional title of ‘Bunun Kanwa,’ to take charge of the affairs of the Emirate, pending the report of a committee carrying out an investigation on the matter.
The committee members are mandated to investigate allegations made against the suspended Emir, on his involvement in the escalating rate of banditry attacks in the Emirate, the governor’s media aide, Yusuf Idris, said.
Protesters burnt a section of the palace of the Emir during a demonstration by residents against incessant attacks by bandits in the area.
The protesters, who were mostly from vulnerable rural communities in the area, converged on Zurmi town for the protest, alleging that security agents and the Emir, Alhaji Abubakar, were not doing enough to protect them.
The residents of the town said armed bandits arrived at Kwata community on motorbikes in broad day light on Friday and unleashed mayhem on them.
“We have buried at least 61 corpses following the attack and many other persons are uncounted for.
“The burial rites were conducted at Dauran community, a densely populated town in Zurmi Local Government Area,” a resident said asking not to be named for security reasons.
“Initially, 51 corpses were recovered, seven more were later found in the bush,” the source added.
The source added that the attack also displaced many including women and children.
The police spokespersons in Zamfara, Muhammad Shehu, confirmed the incident, adding that the police commissioner has visited the affected community.
The police said 14 victims of the attack were buried at Unguwar Gwaza cemetery in Gusau, the state capital.