© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
REPORT: Bandits having a field day in Zamfara, kill seven soldiers on Monday
14 others buried Tuesday afternoon
ZAMFARA State has remained a hotbed for banditry, kidnapping and violence killings as seven soldiers were killed on Monday and several incidences of abduction reported in past week.
This is according to reports by Ahmad Salkida, a journalist who has covered the insecurity situation in Northern Nigeria for many years.
News about the deteriorating security situation in Zamfara and its neighbouring states are not rampant in the conventional media because “both the State and FG (federal government) are bent on treating the calamity as a non-issue”, Salkida tweeted on Monday evening.
Salkida further reported that residents of several local government areas in Zamfara have fled to neighbouring Sokoto and Katsina states, but even those states are not safe from the marauding bandits who operate almost without any confrontation by security operatives.
According to Salkida, Niger Republic offers the only real chance for safety for hundreds of the fleeing victims.
This is coming in the heels of the three-day fasting, prayer, and Quranic recitation period declared by the Governor of Zamfara, Abdulaziz Yari on Tuesday, January 29, 2019.
“On Wednesday, armed bandits killed 4 and abducted 5 persons along Dangulbi-Magani road. The killing spree continued in Maganawa, Tabanni, Matankari and Saulawa communities with 10 people killed. The residents have since migrated to Dansadau town,” Salkida tweeted on Monday evening.
“On Saturday night, bandits invaded Dutsi in Zurmi LGA & killed 3 persons, abducted dozens. Same day, bandits also opened fire on commuters along Gurbin-Baure road, killing a driver, abducting dozens. Soldiers have to escort a long caravan of fleeing refugees to temporary safety.
“Just yesterday (on Sunday), a small village Karuma, in Anka LGA was attacked by bandits, the casualty figures are not yet given, but dozens were reportedly abducted during the attack. In Maradun LGA, Malammai town which used to be full of life is currently empty, it is now a ghost town.
Niger Republic is now considered the safest place to be for many Nigerians living in these crisis areas. The military continues to do its bit, but the death toll is not abating.”
Salkida continued his tweets on Tuesday morning, saying: “As we went to sleep, Madaba village in Magami District in Zamfara was attacked, with dozens killed and wounded. Also last night, a group of bandits invaded a house of a newly wedded couple in Birnin-Magaji and abducted the bride. This is everyday life in Zamfara, Nigeria.”
He would later write that the bandits also abducted and later killed one Ade Marafa, sister to a serving Senator, Kabiru Marafa, while her husband, a village head, was taken away apparently for a ransom demand. 13 others also lost their lives in the attack.
Kabiru Marafa is currently eyeing the Zamfara governorship position but his ambition was not supported by the Governor who prefers another candidate to succeed him.
Salkida then posted another tweet at about noon n Tuesday, saying that “bandits killed seven soldiers in Bini village of Maru Local Govt in Zamfara (on Tuesday)”.
“The corpses of the soldiers that died in active service are currently deposited at the Federal Medical Centre Gusau. Information on last night attacks are only trickling in,” he said.
The ICIR cannot independently verify Salkida’s reports as efforts to contact either the Nigeria Police or the Nigeria army failed.
The spokesman of the Zamfara police command, Mohammed Shehu, did not pick his call, neither did he reply text messages sent to him. The contact information for the new Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, was not available on the police website. In fact, Jimoh Moshood is still represented on the website as the FPRO even though he left the office almost one month ago.
The army is yet to confirm or refute the claim by Salkida.
With less than 11 days to the 2019 presidential election, many say the rising insecurity in several parts of Northern Nigeria could disenfranchise a lot of citizens in the region.