EXCLUSIVE: Troops arrest 3 notorious gunrunners in Zamfara

TROOPS of Operation Hadarin Daji (OPHD) in Zamfara state have arrested three suspected gunrunners while trying to smuggle arms into the state.

A source in the know of the arrest said the three suspects, namely Musa Usman Seun, Aminu Ibrahim, and Isah Mohammed, were apprehended at Shinkafi on January 22, following credible intelligence received on activities of notorious gunrunners by the military.

One of the suspects is said to be a leader of a major political party in the state, while others are notorious for firearm trafficking.

The troops recovered N2,580,000, one Volkswagen Wagon, and three mobile phones from the suspects.

The source also disclosed that the preliminary investigation by the military revealed that the money recovered was for the exchange of assorted weapons at the Illela border in Sokoto state, noting that the suspects were undergoing further interrogation.

The three suspects allegedly arrested for gunrunning in Zamfara State by the Nigerian military
The three suspects allegedly arrested for gunrunning in Zamfara state by the Nigerian military.

The ICIR’s efforts to confirm the claims from the acting director of defence information (Defence Headquarters), Tukur Gusau, a brigadier general, were unproductive as he did not respond to text messages sent to his number hours before filing this report.

The ICIR reports that Zamfara has remained one of the hotbeds for insecurity in Nigeria, following activities of terrorists who have terrorised the state for over a decade.

In December 2023, terrorists shot at motorists along Dogon Karfe on the Gusau – Talata Mafara highway in one of the regular cases of terror attacks recorded within the state.

Some of the passengers were abducted, while many others were left injured.

The ICIR reported at least 15 deaths resulting from terror attacks in Zamfara state between September and October, including 11 worshippers who were killed during Juma’at prayers at a community mosque in the Ruwan Jema community, Bukkuyum.

Terrorists in the state killed more than 100 people in January 2023 when a large number of men invaded at least nine villages and unleashed mayhem in violent attacks that lasted for about three days.

Wads of cash allegedly recovered from the three suspected gunrunners arrested by the military in Zamfara State
Wads of cash allegedly recovered from the three suspected gunrunners arrested by the military in Zamfara State

On December 15, The ICIR reported bandits in the state killing soldiers and destroying armoured trucks hours after an LGA demanded more weapons from the Federal Government to enable the military to confront the bandits and other criminals in the state better.

The ICIR reported how bandits abducted several students of the Federal University of Gusau, the state capital. 

The bandits invaded the private hostels of the students in the Sabon-Gida community of the Bungudu Local Government Area of the state in the early hours of Friday, September 22. Sabon-Gida is a few meters away from the university.

    Sources in the school disclosed to The ICIR that the bandits went away with no fewer than 25 students (predominantly female students).

    Although the number of students abducted by the bandits was believed to be higher, it wasn’t the first time terrorists would kidnap students from the university. 

    Shortly after they were kidnapped, security forces rescued six of the abductees (all females).

    The ICIR reported that the security forces – Joint Task Force of Operation Hadarin Daji – rescued seven more students from their captors, according to Zagazola Makama, a publication specialising in counter-insurgency in the Lake Chad region.

    Usman Mustapha is a solution journalist with International Centre for Investigative Reporting. You can easily reach him via: [email protected]. He tweets @UsmanMustapha_M

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