Many residents of Shinkafi Local Government Area of Zamfara Sate are still trapped 48 hours after gunmen under the control of Turji, a notorious bandit leader, went on rampage.
The armed men, who were protesting against the arrest of Turji’s father, abducted villagers and travellers in the state.
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Daily Trust had earlier reported that about 150 persons were taken hostage by the group.
Kurya, Keta, Kware, Badarawa, Marisuwa, Maberaya are among the villages that were sacked on Friday.
Our correspondent reports that communities in Kware district in Shinkafi Local Government Area of the state are now living in fear as the notorious bandits’ leader wrote and asked them to vacate their homes or face dire consequences.
Turji is also said to have listed about 32 villages in different districts of Shinkafi for attacks, blaming the residents for conspiring with security operatives against his family.
Dozens of residents, including women and children, our correspondent gathered, have left their homes and are taking shelter in relatively safer places in Shinkafi town.
Kware, a community located 22 km southeast of Shinkafi town, the headquarters of Shinkafi Local Government Area, is known for its vast sugarcane, onion and tomato plantations.
Residents of the community had to scamper out of their homes in droves, abandoning their farmlands and businesses as the bandits vowed to make lives unbearable for them.
In February this year, a prominent Kaduna-based Islamic cleric, Sheik Ahmad Gummi, had met Turji at one of his enclaves in Sububu forest to plead with him to halt hostilities towards the communities in the axis. He, however, gave conditions for the attacks to stop.
Residents recount ordeal
Residents told our correspondent that Turji’s boys had earlier met them while they were working on their farmlands and delivered a message they said was from their leader.
They asked residents of Kware, Atarawa, Ursasa and 27 other communities had only 24 hours to leave.
“They carted away more than 300 cows and other domestic animals. They looted shops and houses. And I can tell you that apart from those that were able to escape the onslaught, dozens are still trapped in those communities.
“The bandits have stopped them from getting out of the communities and they are seizing their phones and other valuables. We are in serious trouble.
“This morning, the remains of one of the victims were brought to Shinkafi and we are preparing for his funeral rite. My younger brother is currently on admission after he was shot three times on his leg,” a resident, Lawali Dangaladima said.
Another resident, Sule Magaji, said he left his wife and children at home and the whole community was under siege. He said the armed men ransacked his residence and took away every valuable.
“My wife and children have remained indoors since yesterday. Those trying to escape are being driven back by the criminals and their mobile phones seized. We are appealing to the authorities to, as a matter of urgency, come to our rescue,” he said.
When contacted, the special adviser to Governor Bello Muhammad Matawalle on security matters, DIG Ibrahim Mamman Tsafe (retd), said they were investigating the matter, adding, “I can’t comment for now; the matter is under investigation.”