Terrorists and other criminals are closing in on Kaduna metropolis amid increasing attacks and abductions in towns and villages close to the state capital, Daily Trust reports.
Hundreds of people who left their homes in far-flung areas due to persistent attacks by the terrorists popularly called bandits or kidnappers in search of peace in communities near Kaduna metropolis told our correspondent that the attackers have continued to trail them.
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Many villages and homes have been attacked and people abducted in recent times, thereby heightening fears that the miscreants are becoming more daring.
Security sources said the terrorists were in disarray because of sustained military operations around their hideouts in forests, hence their movement to communities near Kaduna and other major towns to evade arrest and at the same time continue with their nefarious activities.
For almost a decade, several communities in Kaduna Central Senatorial District have been sacked; with residents fleeing their homes due to banditry.
Daily Trust further reports that since 2013, when the Emir of Birnin Gwari, Alhaji Zubairu Jibril II, raised the alarm about bandits taking over his emirate, the activities of the criminal gangs have escalated to Chikun, Igabi, Giwa and now Zaria LGAs of the state.
Weeks of findings and monitoring showed that in the last few months criminality is gradually surging into parts of Kaduna metropolis and other cosmopolitan areas like Zaria City, Birnin Gwari and Giwa towns which in the past provided refuge for residents fleeing the hinterlands.
‘Kaduna becoming porous’
Kaduna residents who spoke to our reporter expressed fear that communities near Kaduna metropolis such as Narayi Layout, Rigachikun, Rigasa, Barakallahu, Gbagi Villa, Maraban Rido and Sabo, which are less than five kilometres from the city centre, were now witnessing attacks.
Kaduna metropolis, which comprises Kaduna North, Kaduna South, Igabi and Chikun LGAs, which also forms part of the Central Senatorial District, has since October 2021, been designated Kaduna Capital Territory (KCT), with a landmass of 2,231.41 square kilometres.
However, security sources confirmed to Daily Trust that a few weeks ago the police thwarted a kidnapping attempt in Kawo New Extension located in the heart of the metropolis.
One of the sources told Daily Trust that gunmen had rounded up members of a household but that their plan was thwarted when policemen engaged them and recovered an AK-47 rifle.
Speaking on the surge of the attacks within Kaduna metropolis and major towns, Dr Awwal Abdullahi Aliyu, a security analyst, said this was an indication that everyone was in danger.
Dr Aliyu said it had become obvious that the terrorists had now found courage to advance into major cities, including Kaduna metropolis.
He further said, “The bandits have now been declared terrorists, and a terrorist is ready to take all kinds of risks to achieve his aim.
“They have succeeded in creating fear among the people and are forcing people to leave the outskirts and to all converge in one place.
“This is sending a dangerous signal. Some of them now live among the people to get information, so the security agents must come up with a different approach.”
He, therefore, called on the state government, security agents and residents to come up with community intelligence and security networks and synergise for early warning.
A recent security report released by the Kaduna State Government showed that 1,192 people were killed due to banditry and other security challenges, with 3,348 abducted in 2021.
Out of these numbers, 720 persons were killed in the Central Senatorial District, while 2,771 were abducted from the same district.
We are not safe – Residents
Alhaji Sambo Ali, a resident of Giwa LGA, one of the frontline areas of banditry in the state, told Daily Trust that many villagers had relocated to bigger towns in the area, warning however that the towns were less than five kilometres from the deserted communities.
Alhaji Sambo said, “Rofayya, Karofi, Batoro I and II and Marke I and II have been taken over by the bandits, and these communities are just two kilometres from Fatika town where we are now settled.
“Right now, there are no houses for rent in Giwa town because villagers have converged there.
“Just recently, about two kilometres from Giwa town, bandits blocked the Zaria-Gusau road and conducted operations for three consecutive days.”
Zaria residents agitated
In Zaria, Daily Trust gathered that due to its proximity with forests that traverse Birnin Gwari and Giwa, residents of communities around Dutsen Abba Ward are converging around Kofan Kuyambana, Kofan Gayan and Kofan Kona.
A source in Zaria, however, said even at that there had been a surge in attacks around Kofan Gayan and Kofan Kona.
Kajuru locals relocate to Maraban Kajuru, others
Also speaking with our correspondent, Ben Achana, who fled Buda community in Kajuru LGA, said residents of Kajuru, Gyangere and Buda had equally moved to bigger towns such as Maraban Kajuru, Kasuwan Magani and Kufana.
In Chikun LGA, our correspondent gathered that residents of Unguwan Gimbiya, Juji, Unguwan Bagi, Maraban Rido and Unguwan Kaje are moving into Kaduna metropolis to find refuge.
Mr Achana said even as they had migrated into the metropolis and other bigger towns, the bandits appeared to be encroaching into such towns.
He said, “We have moved to bigger towns, but these towns are less than three to four kilometres from the communities we fled from, which the bandits have taken over. We fear that this is giving the bandits the opportunity to re-strategise and attack the bigger towns.”
We’ll protect the state – Kaduna gov’t, Police
When contacted, the Kaduna State Commissioner of Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, said the government was not sleeping. He said they were working very hard to tackle all issues of insecurity in the state.
The Kaduna State Police Command on its part aligned with this report on the advancement of the criminal gangs into the metropolis but said security agents were strategising to address the situation.
Speaking with Daily Trust, the command’s spokesperson, ASP Mohammed Jalige, confirmed the incident in Kawo New Extension where gunmen attempted to round up members of a household but said the gunmen fled due to the superior firepower of security agents.
ASP Jalige explained that the Commissioner of Police, Abdullahi Mudasiru, had directed all DPOs and tactical commanders within the metro and Kakuri area to improve their patrols and visibility at night while they gathered surveillance in the afternoon.
He further explained: “The directive is to gather more intelligence and to liaise with traditional rulers and other stakeholders to get the necessary information in the daytime.
“The tactical commanders will mount stop-and-search roadblocks within the metropolitan areas at night because security analysis shows that attacks in the metropolis are linked to the work of informants or bandits infiltrating the areas in the afternoon for surveillance before they strike.
“We are going to intensify awareness on these issues because these people survey the areas in the afternoon then return to attack at night, which is why they usually hit their targets.”