REPORT: Suspected terrorist group operating freely in Sokoto
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A SUSPECTED terrorist group has been operating freely in Tangaza Local Government Area of Sokoto State, collecting taxes, spreading Islamic teachings, and punishing offenders, Premium Times reports on Friday.
Tangaza is the border town between Nigeria and Niger Republic. Communities in the area from both countries speak the same dialect and inter marry.
The report quoted residents of the area as saying that the group, comprising of over 200 persons, has been carrying out its activities for about two months now. The name of the strange group is not known yet.
Members of the group speak Arabic, according to the sources, and wear turbans over their heads. They are currently recruiting young people and giving them motorcycles after “training them”.
“They imposed compulsory levies on each household with cows and rams. Those with cows are paying N500 and those with ram are paying N200,” Premium Times quoted the sources as saying.
“They are arresting and fining herdsmen who encroach on farmlands and are keeping the money. They are operating freely, scaring residents, without being challenged. They are going from one community to another.”
The Sokoto State Police command said it would address journalists on the issue as soon as the state’s Commissioner of police, Murtala Mani, returns from his visit to the affected local government area.
Nigeria is currently battling the Boko Haram insurgency in the North East region of the country. The terrorist group is responsible for the death of over 20,000 persons, and the displacement of about two million more.
The emergence of another terrorist group could further task the resources of the Armed Forces of Nigeria that already appears fatigued by the insurgency in the northeast.