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Bauchi communities worried over resurgence of banditry

Residents of Ningi LGA, especially Burra axis, are currently living at the mercy of rampaging bandits who are killing, kidnapping, robbing and raping their women,…

Residents of Ningi LGA, especially Burra axis, are currently living at the mercy of rampaging bandits who are killing, kidnapping, robbing and raping their women, as farmers were compelled to abandon their farms for the fear of the criminals. Traditional rulers and wealthy individuals no longer live in their villages and businesses are being shut down in many villages due to the situation. 

Daily Trust had in January 2021 reported the then Executive Chairman of NIngi LGA, Mamuda Hassan Tabla, raising alarm over the influx of about 5,000 displaced bandits from Zamfara State who settled at the Lame/Burra Game Reserve terrorising residents.

“Last year – 2020, the people of Burra paid over N72 million as ransom to kidnappers to secure the release of their people from captivity,” he had said.

Recently, the bandits have resumed terrorising people which prompted the lawmakers representing area at both federal and state levels to raise alarm and call for quick government intervention. 

The member representing Ningi/Warji Federal Constituency, Adamu Ranga, recently moved a motion at the House of Representatives on the escalating insecurity which includes kidnapping in various towns and villages within his constituency. 

He said between March and July this year,  four people, including the village head of Balma, were kidnapped and released on payment of a ransom sum of N13 million, while nine people were brutally killed.  Fifteen people in Tabla, Bukutumbe, Katsnawa, Rafinchiyawa and Jimiat were at various times kidnapped and released after paying N27 million ransom, two people in Sama Ward were released on N6 million ransom, three people in Kurmi were released on N8 million ransom, bringing the total sum to N54 million paid as ransom within the last five months; 

The lawmaker urged the military and police to deploy a joint patrol team to address the worsening security situation in the affected areas. 

Also, the member representing Burra Constituency, Ibrahim Tanko Burra, told the house about a very sad situation in his constituency where incessant killings and kidnapping have become the order of the day.

“Just on July 23, at about 9:00pm, unknown gunmen attacked Kada Village of Kurmi Ward of my constituency in which they shot dead six people, which include the ward head of Kada Mai Anguwa Ali. They also burgled shops in the village and carted away foodstuffs and two motorcycles. The gunmen while escaping ambushed a security outfit, killing one of them.

He, therefore, requested the house to call on the state government to collaborate with the security agencies and come up with new strategies towards ending the insecurity.

A resident of Burra and lecturer at the Abubakar Tatari Ali Polytechnic, Bauchi, Abdul Ahmad Burra, said the residents were concerned with the deteriorating security in the area. 

Ahmad said wealthy individuals have gone into hiding for fear of being abducted. 

“From Kafin Lemo to Tabla, Yadagungume to Balma and most strategic communities, the kidnappers abduct, kill, collect ransom and issue threats. The rampaging kidnappers focus on abduction of traditional rulers, wealthy individuals and businessmen.  

“Village heads of Balma, Bukutumbe, family of village head of Magamin Kano in neighbouring Sumaila LGA of Kano State, among many other individuals, were all kidnapped. Some are still in captivity.

“Most of businessmen and wealthy individuals in Balma, Musussuka, Tabla, Bashe, Agwarmaji, Balma, Dingis, Jangu, Jimi, Yadagungume, Yuwa, Tipchi, Sabuwar Kaura, Gamji, Ruwan Dinya, Gwandabi, Agwarmaji, Bukutumbe, Dogon Ruwa and many other villages have gone into hiding and their businesses and enterprises are shut down for the fear of the kidnappers,” he said.

Burra added that though authorities, especially the state and local governments as well as security agents, are doing remarkably well in tackling the security problem, there is the need to look at the root causes of the situation. 

He attributed the situation to corruption and greed by some government officials  

“We have at several times raised alarm on the activities of some non-state actors aided by some government officials and certain elements in the traditional institutions who took illegal possession of all government’s forest and grazing reserves, sold them to unknown individuals and engaged in unprecedented logging. 

“Today, because of the greed and selfishness of these individuals, Ningi and its neighbours have become insecurity hotspot and everybody is living in fear while many families are in tears because their loved ones are either killed or kidnapped. What leaves everybody in wonders is how the perpetrators of the actions that invited insecurity to our area were not made to face the wrath of the law. They are not only walking freely with their heads high, but continue with their devilish acts.  

“Therefore, to efficiently tackle the insecurity bedevilling Ningi LGA, the authorities should not only face the criminals but also look at the causes of the problems and eliminate them. The government must take decisive action on the issue of illegal sale of some forest reserves in Ningi LGA by acting on the recommendations of various committees it had established to investigate the matter.

“All illegal dealings should be cancelled, culprits punished and those involved shouldn’t be allowed to take up any government position again. Furthermore, Governor Bala Muhammad should come up with a state policy on our forest reserves with a view to making them into proper and safe use. There is also the need to conduct a headcount of all new villages and hamlets that emerged and dominated Ningi LGA recently. Their occupants should be known,” Ahmad said.

He urged security agencies to be proactive, engage in more intelligent gathering and work with their colleagues in Kano State to restore normalcy.  

“People of Ningi LGA should complement the government and the security agencies by reporting all criminal and suspicious activities in their communities,’’ he said.  

Another resident of Burra, Sadam Mato Burra, told Daily Trust that incessant kidnap activities had forced many residents to migrate, abandoning their farms and other businesses. 

Bauchi State Police Command said the police had killed many of the bandits during a recent operation in Burra Forest. 

The state Commissioner of Police, Auwal Musa Muhammad, who paraded some of the arrested suspects Thursday, also said the command has arrested 12 suspected kidnappers including their informants at Burra Forest.  

CP Muhammad explained that during the operations, the command had rescued five kidnapped victims including the village head of Kayel under Balma district.

He further disclosed that during another operation on July 31, five other kidnapped victims from different kidnappers’ enclaves at Burra Forest, Ningi LGA, were rescued while two suspected kidnappers were arrested and 70 cows, 60 sheep and goats suspected to be rustled were also recovered.

The commissioner added that the command arrested a team of cattle rustlers terrorising Ningi and beyond. 

“In addition, on 2/08/2023 at about 0800hrs, intelligence at the command’s disposal revealed that some unknown bandits launched an attack at Tabia and Kongoro axis.

“On receipt of the intelligence, operatives swiftly swung into action at the scene and neutralised two of the bandits and evacuated the corpses from the mountain and deposited them at Ningi General Hospital mortuary. The operatives recovered the sum of N300, 000 from them,” he said.

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