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Terror Killings: Sorrow, Tears, Blood, As Foreign Fulani Killer Bandits Wreak Havoc On Kebbi Communities

  July 04 , 2021 | EASTERN PILOT Report By: Olanrewaju Lawal, Birnin Kebbi | In Kebbi State, the Zuru Emirate comprises Zuru, Fakai, Dankowa...


July 04 , 2021 | EASTERN PILOT

Report By: Olanrewaju Lawal, Birnin Kebbi |

In Kebbi State, the Zuru Emirate comprises Zuru, Fakai, Dankowagu and Sakaba Local Government areas, with different tribes and languages. But in the past few weeks, communities under the emirate have been the subjects of frequent attacks from suspected bandits. Apart from its fame as an agrarian area, Zuru is also reputed for being the home of many Nigerian Army Generals. But the unending attacks on the area by armed bandits have sent many men, women and children to their untimely graves. Due to the surge of bandits in Zamfara and Niger states, the people of Zuru Emirate set up a vigilance group to be protecting their territory.

However, due to allegations of extrajudicial killings, disobedience to court orders, the vigilantes, known as “Yansakai’, were disarmed.  Since then, bandits suspected to be foreign Fulani have continued attacking communities in the area unabated. Of recent, 88 people were killed by the bandits in eight villages in Danko/Wasagu Local Government Area. The villages raided included Koro, Kimpi, Gaya, Dimi, Zutu, Rafin Gora and Iguenge villages, all in Danko/Wasagu LGA. In April this year, bandits had also killed nine policemen. Among those killed was a Police DPO of Danko/Wasagu LGA. He was killed while responding to a distress call.

It was gathered that bandits have started going from one village to another, rusticating bulls that farmers use for farming, with each bull costing between N500,000 and N600,000. At Biki Rambo village in Zuru Emirate, on June 15, 2021, bandits raided the community, rusticated some bulls used for farming, abducted one elder of the village, Mallam Muhammad Biki Rambo and shot another man in his limbs. Pained by the incidents, Emir of Zuru, Alhaji Muhammadu Sani Sami, Sami Gomo II, appealed to the state and federal authorities to provide logistics and improve welfare for the Army to enable them to combat bandits and other criminals in the area. The Emir stated this when the GOC of 8th Division of the Nigerian Army, Sokoto, Major General Usman Abdulkadir Yusuf visited him at his palace.

A communiqué, issued after the visit of the GOC, signed by the Secretary, Zuru Emirate Council, Hassan Muhammad Gado, and made available to newsmen said:

“The Emir of Zuru also spoke about the security challenges in the Emirate and called on the Army to go the extra mile in the following areas; engaging in more aggressive mobile patrols, carrying –out effective smart ambushes, promptly responding to distress calls from communities and destroying bandits’ camps or hideouts in the area. In addition, the Emir expressed confidence on the capacity of the GOC, given his antecedents in the Nigerian Army, and wished him success. The Nigerian Army, according to the Emir, remains the last hope of the masses when it comes to protection of lives and property. On this note, the Army must be wiser and better than bandits.”

The Emir, according to the statement, also recommended that the state and federal governments should provide logistics and equipment to the Nigerian Army in order to enable them to effectively combat banditry and other criminal activities in Zuru Emirate. While recommending solution to the frequent attacks, the GOC, Major General Abdulkadir Yusuf told the Emir that the Nigerian Army would need the support of the traditional leaders in the Emirate to successfully defeat bandits in the area.  Also, the GOC revealed that he was going to initiate a tripartite dialogue between the community, Fulani leaders and government with a view to building lasting peace and security in the Emirate. “While the GOC promised to send more troops to the affected areas, he called on community members to identify and promptly report persons collaborating with bandits to the army or other security agencies”. In their other recommendations, the visit of the GOC also asked both local and state governments to develop access roads into the affected areas in order to facilitate more effective security operations.

“There is need for members of the communities affected by the menace of banditry, kidnapping, cattle rustling to desist from aiding criminals by posting videos and pictures of military and police operations on the social media. This often and inadvertently helps criminals to prepare ambushes against security agencies.” However, in a petition to the Inspector General of Police by Ibakkana Association Zuru Emirate dated July 7 2020, signed by its Chairman, Alhaji A. G Milai’ilu and the Secretary, Alhaji Usman Sani, the association had accused Fulani bandits of terrorising law abiding citizens in Emirate.  According to them, they became so fierce that they would visit a village, terrorise them and when the resident flee, they will gather the children and set them on fire.

“To mention a few cases, in 2019, one Alhaji Isah Mai Treda was kidnapped in Mahuta Fakai LGA and N4 million was paid as ransom. In November 2019 at about 18:00 hrs in Gulbin Kuka Audu Jri village Fakai LGA, one Alhaji Maidamma was kidnapped by Fulani bandits and N3 million was paid for his release. On the 16th January, 2020, armed bandits attacked Maidanga village Bantu Ward, Fakai LGA killing many people and burning down the village.  On the 17th of February 2020, two attacks were carried out in Sabon Tunga, one Alhaji Noma was killed and about 400 cows were taken away while in Shengel village, Wake Ward, Danko/Wasagu LGA, one person was killed and a 15 year old girl was raped who at first was taken to the General Hospital Ribah for treatment and later was transferred to the University Teaching Hospital, Sokoto for further treatment. In that attack, houses were burgled, and many cows were taken away.

“On the 17th of February, 2020, Fulani armed men attacked Munhaye Village of Malekaci Bena District. They killed one Pastor John and kidnapped his brother.” The association also mentioned five other cases allegedly carried out by suspected Fulani bandits in Kuntomo, Maga, Gaya, Mai Danga, Sakaba villages where people were killed, women raped and cattle rustled. “In the same Sakaba LGA, some women were kidnapped. When they claimed they were AIDS carriers, the Fulani bandits inserted about seven battery cells and six other battery cell in their private parts. These women were rescued and taken to the General Hospital, Diri Daji for treatment and the women are still alive to share their horrible experiences.”

While defending their action, Chairman of Yan Sa Kai, Mani Giwa, said the Zuru people were known for their hospitality and a peace-loving nature. Giwa said: “What is happening in Zuru today is that some people have taken up arms for the past three years, killing our farmers, destroying their farms and houses, raping, kidnapping and displacing them. The lack of media focus might be the reason our voices were not heard until we resorted to self-defence. We have documented some crimes and atrocities committed by these armed bandits where they killed many, made hundred orphans and widows and have displaced thousands who have migrated to other regions.”

The lingering attacks have been condemned by both Kebbi State Governor, Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu and eminent stakeholders in the state. Governor Bagudu said: “It is really unfortunate that these obnoxious and deadly attacks occurred after the area had been quiet and peaceful. We should not allow this vicious circle to continue. As such, all hands must be on the deck to provide plausible solutions to the problem. Security challenges are not common to Nigeria as they occur everywhere. We must be fast and proactive for peace to return. As mere mortals who believe in fate, both as Muslims and Christians, we should regard this sad development as a trial from the Almighty Allah. Also, we should note that, passing blame will not solve the problem. What is required are mutual trust and respect for all. Certainly, more arms or ammunitions will not solve the problem, but respect, support and fervent prayers will do.”

The governor urged v igilantes to collaborate with the security agencies, traditional rulers and the various communities, to ensure the success of their activities. Also speaking, General Muhammadu Magoro (rtd), who is also from Zuru Emirate, said the attacks were perpetrated from outside the country to destabilise Nigeria. He assured the people that President Muhammadu Buhari is taking measures to end banditry. He called on the people to remain calm and law-abiding. Senator Bala Ibn NaAllah, representing Kebbi South, told the people: “The governor is deeply touched and concerned over your plight. We are also concerned as well. As your leaders, we share your pain and by the grace of God, this will come to an end.”

Commissioner of Police, Mr. Adeleke Adeyinka Bode expressed gratitude to Governor Bagudu  for his sympathy over the killings of the DPO and other officers by bandits in Zuru Emirate. He said the police in the state would continue to perform their duties and deal desirably with any criminal, until peace has been fully restored to the area.  He described the death of those killed in active service as the inevitable way of every mortal.

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