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How bandits sacked 16 Kaduna villages

Niger communities under threat   Like a loose bull in a China shop, armed bandits have sacked a dozen communities in Kaduna State just a…

  • Niger communities under threat

 

Like a loose bull in a China shop, armed bandits have sacked a dozen communities in Kaduna State just a few weeks after they abducted six female students, a teacher and a matron at Engravers College at the outskirt of Kaduna.

They have moved in droves from the North-West after unleashing terror, there and have enjoyed a peace and amnesty pact with some state governments.

However, it seems a handful has enjoyed the spoils of war have changed location to continue perpetrating their acts. Perhaps, it is a million naira business now. Kaduna is a lucrative base with kidnapping along the Abuja-Kaduna expressway which seems unabated.

Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State was hard hit. The notorious bandits had asked residents in 16 villages to leave. Many of them explained how the bandits living in the forest surrounding their villages forced them to abandon their homes and farmlands.

Within a short spell, these villagers, mostly women, children, adults and the aged have turned refugees in their homelands. They have taken refuge at a Local Education Authority Primary School, Birnin Yero along Kaduna-Zaria expressway.

Daily Trust on Saturday gathered that more than a thousand people fled their homes after being ordered by the bandits to leave a day after some vigilantes from the villages confronted the bandits in their camp.

It was gathered that the bandits have been terrorizing the communities by kidnapping their wives and children for ransom which made the vigilantes make the move to engage them.

Three vigilantes who went into the forest were killed, with others unaccounted for according to the villagers. Although the bandits didn’t attack the communities but only ordered them to leave or face attack.

The villages shared boundaries with Birnin Gwari forest which is considered bandits’ den for years. The affected villages displaced were Jura, Anguwar Gide, Anguwar Dan Gauta, Anguwar Nayawo, Anguwar Makeri, Jigani, Sabon Gida, Dallatu , Anguwar Ahmadu, Sabon Gari.

Others are Kosau, Gidan Sarkin Noma, Anguwar Pati, Anguwar Amfani, Anguwar Tofa and Soran Giwa.

Our reporter who visited the primary school “refugee camp” where the people are currently staying reported that armed security agencies comprising soldiers, Police and Civil Defence were stationed at the area to protect the villagers.

The Ward Head of Anguwar Gide, Malam Jibril Abdullahi said the gunmen stormed his village on Sunday afternoon and ordered them to leave the area.

“Presently we have about 1200 women, children and male here at the primary school living as refugees. We cannot farm. I spent 22 days without visiting my farm,” he noted.

According to him, he invested about N2million on his farm, but he couldn’t visit the farm anymore because of the bandits. He all the people from the villages have been displaced explaining that he was yet to locate one of his three wives and some of his children.

Abdullahi pointed out that he paid N600, 000 to secure the release of his abducted son’s wife.

Another displaced resident Salisu Lawal gave the names of the three vigilantes killed by the gunmen. He said they are Danbirni, Yushehu and Tukur who was the son of the village head of Bakin Kasuwa.  He said the bandits called asking them to come and retrieve his corpse but were afraid of their own lives.

He added that other vigilantes are yet to be accounted for as no information about their whereabouts is known since they entered the forest.

The representative of the Village Head of Jura, Idris Saidu, said most of the people that fled their villages were farmers but now turned refugees. He urged the government to do something urgently so that they can return home. He lamented that the bandits have not allowed them to harvest their farm produce.

A housewife who identified herself as Magajiya from Jura village appealed to the state government to chase out the bandits as the huge investment in the farms would be wasted. “We have no joy because we left everything behind to save our lives. We need the governor to help us,” she said.

 

Niger communities threatened

Bandits fleeing Zamfara and Katsina states have found a new haven in Niger State, with others operating also in the neighbouring Kaduna State. On September 26, seven personnel of a vigilante group and a policeman were ambushed by gunmen suspected to be bandits causing fear across the state.

There were also invaded by gunmen and cattle rustlers around Lamba Waya near Pandogari just as the bandits ambushed security operatives near Kusherki community, resulting in exchange of fire which lasted for hours.

The spate of attacks on security operatives had occurred in late July as an undisclosed number were allegedly ambushed around Allawa in Shiroro local government area.

It was gathered that before the recent attack, gunmen had early in September launched sustained offensive on communities in Shiroro and Rafi local government areas. The affected communities include Kukoki, Hanawanka, Wayam , Durumi, Kusherki, Rafin-Kwakwa and Gidan Dogon-Guru.

The Village Head of Durumi, Alhaj Muhammadu Abubakar said some community members were forced to helplessly watch as the bandits killed a young man one of such attacks. He also revealed that women were abducted and raped.

Also, the Zarnan Kusherki, Alhaji Garba Kusherki said that his community has never witnessed such an incident even though there were rampant cases of kidnapping in other villages within the local government area. He attributed the incessant attacks around the area to the bandits’ activities in neighbouring states of Kaduna and Zamfara.

Now, there are about 5,628 displaced persons from Rafi local government in temporary camps in Central Primary School in Kagara and Pandogari.

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