RESIDENTS of five villages in Maru Local Government Area of Zamfara State have fled to other places for fear of reprisals by bandits.

The villages; Talli, Dutsin Gari, Mahuta, Rayau and Munkuru, were deserted by the indigenes following fresh attack by bandits  on the area which left 15 persons dead and several houses set ablaze.

The bandits, it was gathered, were confronted by residents of the four villages, even as the bandits could not succeed in abducting anybody due to large number of people who turned out to defend themselves.

A resident of the area, Ibro Mamman, reported that the bandits had mobilised their members and moved to the three villages, where they set many houses on fire.

He maintained that “the security situation is not favourable and as such, we will not go back until the security agents are deployed to protect us.”

While 13 persons were killed by the bandits in Dutsin Gari, two lost their lives to the hoodlums in Rayau village, all in Maru LGA of the state.

An eyewitness, Malam Ibro Mamman, who spoke to our reporter, said the bandits, who were on motorcycles, invaded Dutsin Gari village Monday night with the intention of abducting some people but were squarely faced by the villagers.

According to him, the villagers engaged the bandits in a heavy fight which lasted several hours.

Mamman said, “When the bandits realised that they could not succeed in their nefarious activity, they opened fire and killed 13 persons, injured many and moved to a nearby village called Rayau.

“In Rayau village, the bandits also faced similar challenges from the villagers, who were battle-ready on receiving the report of what happened in Dutsin Gari village.

“The villagers came out in large number and engaged the bandits in a gun battle where two of the villagers lost their lives and the bandits left without abducting anybody.”

Mamman also said the bandits returned to the two villages on Tuesday only to find out that many locals had fled to Kanoma town for fear of reprisal.

According to him, the angry bandits set many houses on fire and stole domestic animals.

However, several calls put across to the spokesperson for the state Police Command, Mohammed Shehu, were not answered, while a text message sent to him for confirmation of the attack on the Dutsin Gari and Rayau.