✕ CLOSE Online Special City News Entrepreneurship Environment Factcheck Everything Woman Home Front Islamic Forum Life Xtra Property Travel & Leisure Viewpoint Vox Pop Women In Business Art and Ideas Bookshelf Labour Law Letters
Click Here To Listen To Trust Radio Live

Sharan Daji: Troops step up campaign against bandits in Zamfara

Troops deployed for Operation Sharan Daji in Zamfara State are engaging armed bandits and cattle rustlers terrorising the state in multiple fronts. According to Governor…

Troops deployed for Operation Sharan Daji in Zamfara State are engaging armed bandits and cattle rustlers terrorising the state in multiple fronts.

According to Governor Abdulaziz Yari, between 2014 and 2015, there were only 250 soldiers, but now, the number has hit over 1, 600 stationed across the state.

One of the frontlines in the ongoing fight against armed bandits and cattle rustlers is Dumburum forest, which stretches to the neighbouring Niger Republic from Zurmi Local Government Area of the state.

Last week, four Nigerien soldiers were killed while 7 from Nigeria were wounded in a clash with armed bandits and cattle rustlers in the dreaded Dumburum forest.

“Operation Sharan Daji is being coordinated by the defence headquarters. It is jointly carried out by the army and other security operatives.

“Nigeria has a diplomatic agreement with the neighbouring Niger Republic for cooperation on matters that have to do with security. We are carrying out operation against armed bandits and cattle rustlers.

“The Nigerian army is also patrolling borders with their Nigerien counterparts. It was in the course of the operation along the borders that we had an encounter with the armed bandits and four of the Nigerien troops were killed and 7 of our soldiers wounded,” the acting Force Information Officer, Operation Sharan Daji, Major Clement Abiade, told our correspondent.

He said they were aware that Dumburum forest had become an enclave for criminals and it is being used by armed men as a launching pad for their deadly raids on rural communities in the state. That was why the army would not relent until the armed criminals in the forest are routed, he added.

Dumburum is a community in Zurmi Local Government Area. It is situated in the heart of the forest, about 40 kilometers east of Zurmi town, the headquarters of the local government.

For quite a long time, the forest has been a safe haven for the bandits and other armed criminals. Troops had engaged and successfully dismantled several camps of the armed men in the forest.

In November 2012, 10 vigilantes were shot dead by suspected armed bandits, just few kilometers from Dumburum community. They were killed at a road block mounted along the Rukudawa-Dumburum road. The vigilantes were trying to fish out criminals who wanted to sneak into the Dumburum community market on Friday.

The gunmen slashed the private parts of the slain vigilantes, pocketed them and fled into the forest.

“Long before these attacks started, Dumburum forest had been an abode for cattle rustlers. In those days, cow meat sold in Dumburum community was cheaper than any other place.

“There had been a series of allegations that the surrounding villages in the forest had become abode for rustlers. But at that time, there were no cases of fatal attacks and kidnappings,” a resident, Halilu Bello said.

Another resident who spoke with our correspondent from Zurmi Local Government Area said he wondered how people of the villages sharing boundary with the forest carried out their normal activities

“There is a community market there that holds every Friday, but people have since stopped going there for transactions. I used to attend the market to sell grain sacks, but I have since stopped.

“In recent times, no trader risked going there as he or she risked being kidnapped or killed, even before he gets to the market. I know a lot of people who got killed after they were robbed of their belongings in that dreaded forest,” he said.

In November last year, troops conducting Operation Sharan Daji in the state said they  had killed 20 armed bandits and recovered 24 rifles and other assorted weapons,

The acting director, Defence Information, Brigadier-General John Agim, said that during the period in focus, troops also recovered 55 motorbikes, 1,444 cows, 478 sheep, 11 camels, 14 donkeys, 56 rams and 293 goats.

He said the Air Task Force (ATF) in support of the operation had also continued to strike at the bandits, destroying their enclaves in the forests.

“The air bombardment on bandits’ camps and hideouts has kept them constantly on the run. It has disorganised and made them incapable of launching coordinated attacks on communities. This will be sustained,’’ he added.

Earlier, the state government announced the recruitment of 8,500 members of the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) to help stem the tide of armed banditry and cattle rustling plaguing the state.

However, shortly after their recruitment, 12 members of the CJTF were killed and their motorbikes burnt by suspected armed bandits in a forest in Shinkafi Local Government Area.

In November 2018, the police in the state lost 16 officers in a heavy fight with armed bandits in Birnin Magaji Local Government Area.

During the onslaught, 104 armed bandits were killed, 50 of their hideouts destroyed and over 500 cattle and 79 sheep were recovered from them.

Last week,  the ATF of Operation Diran Mikiya had announced the successful neutralisation of an armed bandits’ hideout at a compound located west of Tsamari village in Birnin Magaji Local Government Area of the state.

The Director of Public Relations and Information, Nigerian Air Force, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, said  the attack was conducted at dawn on December 28, 2018 following intelligence reports indicating that the compound was being used by the bandits as a camp.

He said the ATF detailed a Nigerian Air Force (NAF) intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft, which confirmed the presence of bandits armed with high calibre weapons at the location.

Thereafter, an alpha jet was dispatched to strike the compound, recording direct hits on the target area and resulting in significant damage to the structures and neutralisation of some bandits, as later confirmed by credible human intelligence sources. Surface troops later invaded the compound and recovered some motorcycles abandoned by the fleeing criminals.

Earlier, some residents in a nearby community, Nassarawa Gödel, told our correspondent that they heard sounds of blasts some kilometers from their communities.


Join Daily Trust WhatsApp Community For Quick Access To News and Happenings Around You.

UPDATE: Nigerians in Nigeria and those in diaspora can now be paid in US Dollars. Premium domains can earn you as much as $17,000 (₦27 million).

Click here to start earning.