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Drivers, travellers plying the dangerous ‘Kaduna-Birnin Gwari Highway narrate ordeals

There is heightened fear among travellers and motorists plying Kaduna-Birning Gwari Highway following the resurgence of the activities of bandits recently.   Daily Trust reports that…

There is heightened fear among travellers and motorists plying Kaduna-Birning Gwari Highway following the resurgence of the activities of bandits recently.  

Daily Trust reports that there has been a lull in attacks by the terrorists a few months back which led to more traffic along the highway.  

Salisu Isa is a commercial driver. He said driving from Birnin Gwari to Kaduna city has been his source of livelihood for years.

Despite the risks involved in plying the road, he has no choice but to take the risk daily, unless the bandits block the road.  

Due to bandit activities on the road, drivers frequently come under attack, resulting in loss of lives and permanent injuries.

Salisu can’t remember the number of his colleagues (drivers) killed by bandits along that road in recent years. On August 3, 2023, Salisu and fellow drivers got stranded on the road for fear of being abducted or killed after bandits mounted a roadblock.

The bandits’ roadblocks forced drivers and travellers to abandon it on that day with few other drivers taking the risk to ply the road the next day.  

 Salisu was notified of the bandits’ roadblock ahead and took cover at a nearby military checkpoint, waiting for the road to clear.

“Many drivers parked at the checkpoint, waiting for a security vehicle to escort them due to recent bandit attacks. Some drivers had to turn back to Birnin Gwari and return to Kaduna the following day,” he said.

He explained further that only three vehicles took the risk to travel without an escort to Kaduna the next day (Friday), despite the potential danger.

Umar Ibrahim, another driver, said bandits terrorise travellers on the highway, attacking motorists regularly, adding that the stretch between Udawa and Birnin Gwari town is a dangerous spot, where bandits can strike anytime.

He said each time they embark on a trip, there is always the fear of being attacked by the bandits operating on the road, adding that most political leaders in the LGA use security agencies or vigilantes when travelling, highlighting the need for a permanent solution on the Kaduna-Birnin Gwari Highway.

Passengers uncertain about reaching their destination   

Passengers travelling to Birnin Gwari said they were always uncertain about reaching their destination safely due to frequent attacks by bandits.

Idris Abdulrauf, a student, shares concerns about safety on the road and recounts recent bandit attacks.  

Muhammad Mubarak and Aliyu Abubakar also said they had encountered roadblocks mounted by the bandits on different occasions and were only lucky to have survived the experience.  

“This is because there are places without security checkpoints on the road and no other vehicles on the road.  I have once been stranded in Kaduna waiting for the road to be cleared to visit my people in Birnin Gwari.  

“Just a few days ago, a relative of mine travelling to Birnin Gwari also came under bandits’ attack in which one person in their vehicle was shot on the leg. The vehicle was riddled with bullet holes but fortunately nobody was killed,” he said  

Aliyu Abubakar commended the soldiers at a location called Damba for securing Buruku to Udawa area which used to be a dangerous spot.  

He said from Udawa to Kuriga Mai Yan Mata to Gayan to Pollwaya to Birnin Gwari town, the security situation there is very bad, hence the need for urgent measures.  

Muhammad Mubarak said they only handed their safety and lives to the creator (God) and kept driving along that road.  

“A few days ago, on my way to Kaduna, we witnessed an attack on a vegetable truck along the road. We did not know what happened to the driver, but the vehicle was abandoned, filled with baskets,” he said.

He said the road was entirely deserted on that day, intensifying their fear as they quickly drove off without waiting to see if there were injured people inside the vehicle.  

Shehu from Randagi village said he was wary of travelling on the road and found it difficult to bid goodbye to his loved ones before each trip due to the uncertainty of returning safely.  

“You have to say goodbye because you are not sure if you will return or not. The chances of safely returning home from the journey are only around 20 per cent,” he said.  

He said numerous people have lost their lives while travelling between Birnin Gwari and Kaduna.  

“This has been our reality for many years. The situation has worsened now, as we can hardly travel without an escort. Despite that, the bandits still manage to strike,” he added.  

The Chairman of Birnin Gwari Emirate Progressive Union (BEPU), Ishaq Kasai, stated that a significant number of attacks and atrocities were not being reported in the media.  

Ishaq Kasai told Daily Trust that passengers from Birnin Gwari travelling to Kaduna often perform their last ablution before embarking on their journey.   

He said their relatives are never at ease  until they receive confirmation of their safe arrival, as the threat of bandit attacks looms large at any moment along the road.

  He called on security agencies to raid the bandit camps inside the forest along the highway for the safety of the travellers.  

Security agencies on patrol – Police  

Kaduna State Police Command said there was more deployment of police and soldiers to patrol the highway.  

The command’s Deputy Public Relations Officer, Mansur Hassan, said the command was not aware of the reported killing of two travellers by bandits recently.  

He promised to find out more details on what transpired on Thursday, saying the road is open for motorists.



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