Residents desert 10 Zamfara villages over bandits’ threats
Residents of 10 villages in Bungudu Local Government Area of Zamfara State have fled their homes for fear of being attacked by a notorious bandits.
Their actions followed threats of attack by a notorious bandits’ leader Dan Nagala, who has been terrorizing the areas.
Daily Trust learnt that the affected villages are Gidan Soro, Maje, Fanda Hakki, Hayin Dankaro, Doka, Dan Gamji, Galmuwar Hannu, Dan Katsina, Dakwalge and Gidan Arne.
The residents, our reporter gathered, fled their homes following a recent operation carried out by soldiers of the Operation Hadarin Daji unit.
The operatives on Tuesday stormed the famous Danbasa-Buzaya forest and recovered a large number of cows allegedly stolen and kept by Dan Nagala.
Daily Trust further learnt that the cows were being kept in the custody of another bandit, simply referred to as Zakiru, who fled the area when he heard about the impending invasion by the soldiers.
A resident of Gidan Soro village, who spoke to Daily Trust on condition of anonymity, said three weeks ago, soldiers went to the forest and recovered a large number of Dan Nagala’s stolen cows.
“After the incident, Dan Nagala warned residents of the villages around the forest that if under any circumstances, the soldiers return to the forest and collect ‘his cows’, he will attack all the villages that share borders with the forest.
“So, the soldiers went to the forest on Tuesday and recovered many cows. We are afraid Dan Nagala can strike at any time as he promised, and that is why we fled our homes. We know the man, he is heartless, he doesn’t value human life. I can confidently tell you that because of these cattle, Dan Nagala can wipe out all the villages around the forest”, the disturbed resident said.
Also, a resident of Dan Gamji, who fled his home on Tuesday night, lamented that: “As I am talking to you, I don’t know where my two wives and eight children are. I was at a nearby village when the news of recovery of the ‘stolen cows’ broke. Therefore, from there, I proceeded to Bungudu local government secretariat for safety.
“I called my wife on phone three times, but it was switched off. Maybe, the battery ran down or she lost the phone. I also tried her number this morning (today) and it was not going. I checked the LG secretariat where some residents are taking shelter, but I could not find them. I am now in a serious dilemma and worry about my family.
“We ran for our dear lives because the notorious bandits’ leader can attack our villages if something is not done. We are therefore appealing to both state and federal governments to do something urgently for our safety”, he appealed.
Another resident from Dan Katsina village, who simply identified himself as Malam Isyaku, lamented that many people including women and children spent the rest of their night in the bush because of the uncertainty, saying “the notorious bandit can attack residents in the night when many of them are asleep.
“Women and children left their homes the moment we heard about the recovery of the stolen animals. This is because, we are all aware of the warning the bandits’ leader sent to us after the first recovery. We are even lucky he did not send his boys to the affected villages immediately after the soldiers left the forest. Otherwise, it would have been a different story by now.
“The soldiers that recovered the cows ought to have remained behind to protect residents of villages around the forest. Of course, it is good to recover ‘stolen cows’, but human life is far better than animals. The government should therefore give us protection against the bandits.
“For me, if the soldiers cannot be stationed in our villages to provide security for us, they should at least not cause problems between us and the bandits. The soldiers should have allowed us to leave in peace with this man. We have been living in peace with him for a long time. The recovery of the cows may lead to a serious problem between the people living around the forest and bandits”, said Malam Isyaku.
Military declines comment
The spokesperson of the Operation Hadarin Daji, Captain Ibrahim Yahaya, in his reply to the text message sent to him by our reporter said, “Please, I am currently on a clearance operation along Danjibga general areas. I won’t be able to respond to you, please.”
Many communities sacked in four months
Daily Trust reports that in the last four months, several communities across Zamfara State have been under attacks of armed bandits.
On Sunday last week, armed bandits abducted almost 50 villagers among them 36 women in Magizawa village of Kaura Namoda Local Government Area of the state.
The bandits also killed three persons including the leader of a vigilante group and injured five others.
It would equally be recalled that Dan Nagala, on November 19, led other bandits numbering about 50, attacked Ruwan Dorawa village in Maru Local Government Area of the state and abducted 17 people, including a day-old-bride and wife of the Village Head, Marafa Kabiru Makau.
The attack was described by many residents as unique, as throughout the operation that lasted for four hours, the bandits fired only a single shot which claimed the life of a policeman on duty in the village. Up till the time of filing this report, all the abducted persons are still in captivity.
Also, on November 24 last year, another notorious bandits’ leader called Damina attacked six villages in Mutunji district of Maru local government and abducted 150 persons. It was gathered that three out of the 150 abductees died of hunger while in captivity.
The attack was said to have been launched after the affected communities failed to settle the N200 million levy placed on them by Damina.
In simultaneous operations, the bandits kidnapped 18 persons in Mutunji village, 32 others in Kwanar-Dutse, 30 persons in Unguwar-Kawo, 22 people in Sabon-Garin Mahuta, 20 others in Gama-Giwa all in Maru local government.
They have also kidnapped seven people in Bulakke village in Maradun Local Government Area on the same day.
Daily Trust reports that though the bandits had contacted the families of the abducted persons through the Village Head, Makau and demanded N100 million ransom, the families agreed to pay only N5 million as the negotiation continued. The last time the bandits called, they directed for the payment of N5 million ransom per person.