Bandits Monday struck again in the North-west states of Kaduna and Katsina as well as North-central state of Nasawara, as they went on rampage killing several of their victims and kidnapping others for ransom.
A major highpoint of the tragedy was the killing of two officials of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) and the kidnap of 10 others along Mararaban-Udege in Nasarawa state.
Similarly, they killed one person, abducted a nursing mother, an infant and 15 other family members at Udawa village in Chikun local government area of Kaduna state.
However, luck ran out on some of the hoodlums as troops of Operation Sahel Sanity neutralised several of them and rescued 14 victims, including two women abducted by some bandits in Faskari and Mararaban Kawaye local government areas of Katsina state.
Similar feat was recorded by the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) component of Operation HADARIN DAJI which killed several bandits of the “Dangote” gang, during an air strike at their camp in the Doumborou forest area of Zamfara state.
In Kaduna, the gunmen struck at about 7 a.m. Saturday at Gonar Lema.
Those abducted were all members of same family while on their way to the farm.
Three members of the family who sustained injuries include; Blessing Yakubu, Omega Yakubu and Baby Yakubu, as well as the family head, Mr. Yakubu Gurmi, were rushed to the hospital for treatment.
The family head, popularly known as Yakubu Jakuta, was rushed to Birnin Gwari hospital for medical attention for injuries on his two legs, while the three others were initially taken to Kaduna hospital for scanning but later moved to Birnin Gwari general hospital Sunday evening.
A community leader in the area, Muhammad Hussaini, who confirmed the incident, said one of the injured victims died in the early hours of Monday.
“They were attacked at a place called Gonar Lema a few kilometres from Udawa town. They were on motorcycles going to their farms.
“The bandits then abducted 17 other members of the family including a nursing mother, Abigail, with her infant.
“But the head of the family, Mr. Yakubu was shot on his two legs and three others sustained injuries. But, sadly, one of them died this Monday morning,” Hussaini said.
He said the deceased was shot on his mouth by the bandits during the attack., and that the corpse would be conveyed from Birnin Gwari to Udawa for burial.
A source said the gunmen were yet to contact the family for ransom.
The Kaduna state Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs Samuel Aruwan could not be reached Monday as his phone was switched off and a text message sent to him was not replied either.
Similarly, the Kaduna state Police Public Relations Officer, Mohammed Jalige, did not pick his call.
Chikun has been under bandits’ attack with many residents killed and abducted in several communities bordering Birnin Gwari local government area of the state.
Not long ago, five students and their teacher, Christiana Madugu, were abducted by gunmen at their school, Prince Academy, located at Damba-Kasaya in the same Chikun local government.
Their abductors have demanded for over N20 million ransom and both the students and teacher are yet to be released. (Premium Times)
Also, gunmen Monday attacked officials of the FRSC, killing two people and kidnapping some 10 others.
The officials, numbering 26, were travelling in two buses from Sokoto and Kebbi commands for a training programme at FRSC Academy, Udi, Abuja, when the incident occurred.
Announcing this in a statement in Abuja, spokesman of the agency, Mr. Bisi Kazeem said they were attacked at Udege junction, along Mararaban-Udege, Nasarawa state, at about 8 a.m.
He said one of the officers in the vehicle died during the attack while another officer passed on in the hospital with four others sustaining various degrees of injuries.
Kazeem further said eight of the officers escaped unhurt, and 10 were as at the time of this report unaccounted for, raising the fear that they may have been kidnapped by the hoodlums.
The FRSC’s spokesman said Corps Marshal Boboye Oyeyemi has immediately reported the incident to relevant authorities for prompt rescue of the kidnapped staff while investigations were on to ensure the assailants were brought to book was ongoing.
While calling on all staffers of the corps not to be deterred by the incident, the corps marshal assured that the corps would work closely with relevant security agencies to ensure the criminal elements were brought to justice.
In a related development, the Emir of Ningi in Bauchi state, Dr. Yunusa Mohammed Danyaya has enjoined his subjects to always report suspicious characters within their midst to appropriate security authorities in their respective domains for necessary actions.
The emir gave the admonition Monday when he paid a sympathy visit to Base and Chamo communities in Ningi local government area of the state.
Four sons of the communities were kidnapped and their release secured after the payment of N2million each for the victims.
The Base and Chamo Fulani communities in Ningi are settlers of Jimi, Dogon-Ruwa, Rafin-Chiyawa, Takalafiya, Bukutumbe and Mara hamlets in the area where issues of kidnapping, banditry and cattle rustling are rampant.
Two years ago, the royal father paid similar visits to some villages in his emirate with similar incidents.
And following his interventions, the perpetrators of the acts scaled down the persistent attacks on the villagers.
Emir Danyaya vowed to curb the thriving threats and attempts by kidnappers and cattle rustlers in his emirate.
Describing the responsibility for peace and security as a burden on both leaders and their followers, the monarch said it’s not enough to talk about peace, but all must believe and work for it.
While promising to play his own part in ensuring peace returns to the area, the monarch urged the people to embark on prayers and self-defense to rid the area of criminals.
The royal father also appealed to the state government to always give the area utmost priority whenever the need arises, considering the fact that the area (Base) is a vast forest that contains a large number of farmers and cattle headers living together in harmony.
He also called on security agencies to deploy more personnel with sophisticated weapons to the area in order to curtail the activities of hoodlums, and requested for concerted efforts of all stakeholders, particularly village heads towards achieving the desired result.
Meanwhile, Secretary to Katsina state Government, Mustapha Inuwa has said the heinous activities of bandits operating around the state were negatively affecting service delivery to the people, especially in the affected areas.
“The Katsina Government had after the amnesty programme commenced the execution of projects in Rugu Forest by building schools and clinic to provide education and health care to cattle breeders.
“Some of the schools and clinics have been taken over by the bandits before the commissioning which is highly unfortunate,” he said.
Inuwa said this while briefing members of the correspondents’ chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalist in Katsina Monday.
He said the state government had awarded road, hospital, schools contracts in the eight local government areas, with some of them completed.
“But the activities of the bandits of killing people, kidnapping for ransom had sent the contractors away before the yearly projects were completed.
“The state government had awarded two road contracts from Shinfida in Jibiya LGA to Batsari LGA and from Danmusa to Yantumaki to Yar-tsaniya in Kankara LGA with the intent to open access to Rugu Forest.
“No contractor can dare enter the forest to execute the project because the bandits will attack the workers. The state government has decided to provide social amenities to the cattle breeders as they have been neglected by previous state governments,” said the SSG.
While assuring that the state government was aware that lack of education and enlightenment were major causes of the high rate of criminality in the state, he said: “We are ready to do our best to resettle all the repentant bandits by establishing a colony where they lead a normal life out of the Rugu Forest where sometimes they are compelled to join criminals.”
He said the administration was currently taking census of genuine repentant cattle rustlers with the intention of resettling them in the state.
At another media parley in Katsina, the SSG expressed concern over the lack of common approach by states of the North-west region to tackle insurgency problems in the sub-region.
He said the failure to adopt a common approach was the greatest challenge to ending insecurity facing the states.
“If Katsina State Government adopts measures in dealing with insurgency, but other states refused to do so, the insurgency problem will continue to linger. We must have a synergy of working together in dealing with insurgency if we are serious about protecting lives and properties,” he said.
Inuwa said if all the states adopted a common approach, they would succeed in stopping smuggling of arms and ammunition from neighbouring states of Niger Republic.
He said 80 percent of arms and ammunition used by the bandits were coming from Niger Republic.
Inuwa said the state government had in the last five years, spent N4.25 billion in dealing with insurgency, saying the sum was expended on provision of logistics, allowances and infrastructures to security.
An on the brighter side, Coordinator Defence Media Operations Major-General John Enenche has said the NAF component of Operation Hadarin Daji killed several bandits belonging to the “Dangote” bandit gang, during air strike at their camp in the Doumborou forest area of Zamfara state.
Enenche, who stated this Monday, said the air strike was executed Sunday.
He said the operation was part of a new subsidiary operation, tagged WUTAN DAJI 2.
Enenche said the target was designated for attack after Human Intelligence (HUMINT) reports as well as series of confirmatory aerial surveillance missions indicated that ‘Dangote’ and some of his members, along with their logistics items and rustled livestock, had established a new camp at the southern edge of the forest.
“The Air Component therefore dispatched an enhanced force package of Nigerian Air Force (NAF) fighter jets and helicopter gunships to attack the location.
“The attack aircraft engaged the target area scoring accurate hits and taking out several of the bandits, while some of their structures were seen engulfed in flames. HUMINT sources later revealed that several of ‘Dangote’s followers were neutralised in the air strike,” he said.
Sahel Sanity too
Similarly, troops of Operation Sahel Sanity have rescued 14 victims, including two women abducted by bandits in the Faskari and Mararaban Kawaye areas of Katsina state.
The operatives also rescued a 14-seater bus and the passengers kidnapped by bandits along Dutsinma-Yantumaki road on September 9.
The victims, who were travelling along the route in a commercial vehicle ran into the bandits who diverted their vehicle in an attempt to take them hostage.
But following prompt intelligence, the troops quickly mobilised and pursued the bandits forcing them to abandon the vehicle with the 14 passengers who were safely rescued.
The personnel also recovered 40 cattle rustled at Kwanar Maje area which had been reportedly restored to their owners.
A statement Monday by the Acting Director, Defence Media Operations, Brigadier-General Bernard Onyeuko, said troops deployed in Daki Takwas intercepted and arrested 17 armed Yansakai members on seven motorcycles at Danmarke village in Bukkuyum LGA of Zamfara state, on September 8.
Preliminary investigation revealed that the suspects were from Maga in Kebbi state. Items recovered from them include 12 locally fabricated dane guns, seven motorcycles and assorted charms. The army said the suspects were undergoing further interrogations.
The statement also stated that a bandit leader identified as Sada surrendered to troops at Forward Operation Base Dansadau and submitted three AK47 rifles, one Sub-machine gun and two magazines.
It further disclosed that troops conducting clearance operation at Shekewa general area destroyed several bandits’ camps and arrested three suspected bandits identified as Adamu Musa, Hassan Bello and Rabiu Salisu.
It said a suspected bandit was killed while trying to escape on a motorcycle, adding that troops responding to a distress call equally foiled an attempt by bandits to attack and loot Magami village.