Insecurity: Over 500 people killed in 10 states in 3 months

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By Habibu Umar Aminu (Katsina), Lami Sadiq (Kaduna), Magaji Isa Hunkuyi (Jalingo),Uthman Abubakar & Olatunji Omirin (Maiduguri), Hope Abah Emmanuel (Makurdi), Romoke W. Ahmad (Minna), Abdullateef Salau & Haruna Ibrahim (Abuja)

Over 500 people have been killed in 10 states in Nigeria within the last three months, Daily Trust tally reported. The people killed, who include civilians, security operatives and vigilantes were victims of communal clashes, banditry, kidnapping and terrorisms.

The states are located in the northwest, north-central and north-eastern parts of the country.

These included Katsina, Kaduna, Taraba, Zamfara, Niger, Benue, Sokoto, Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states. The development has added to the precarious economic challenges facing millions of people in the regions amid the overwhelming COVID-19 pandemic. Governors and security operatives in the affected states have been reacting differently to the development while locals who are the direct victims have been pleading for action to save them from extinction. Thousands of families have lost their loved ones as the continued killings kept producing widows and orphans as well as aggravating poverty and other social challenges.

Endless onslaught on Katsina Governor Aminu Masari recently said over 100 lives had been lost as result of banditry in the last two weeks across the state. Masari said Katsina is daily facing attacks from unrepentant bandits. Even though the governor did not give details of the places and number of victims, documented attacks across the state showed that on April 13, eleven local hunters from four villages of Kaurawa, Gidan Goge, Tashar Tsamiya and Zan Bago all of Pauwa ward in Kanakara Local Government Area were killed by suspected armed bandits while hunting around the forest. On April 18, a multiple attacked launched by the bandits on several communities across three local governments of Danmusa, Safana and Dutsinma led to the death of many people, several sustained life threatening injuries and many are still missing. The communities gave the number of those killed at 73 persons while police gave 47 as the number of those killed during the attack. On April 20, three persons were killed and 2 others injured at Sabon Layin Galadima in Faskari Local Government Area of Katsina. Attacks and abductions were launched May 1, 5, 6 in different LGAs that claimed many lives.

On May 13, 16 persons were killed in multiple attacks by bandits on four local government areas including Safana, Dutsinma, Batsari and Faskari. Our reporter gathered that in Safana, the villages attacked were Dan Jukka with 6 people killed and Salihawar Kalgo where 5 people were killed. One was killed at Dullu village in Batsari and 2 brothers were killed at Maitsani village of Dutsinma LGA. However when contacted, the spokesman for the state police command, SP Gambo Isah confirmed that 5 were killed at Dan Jukku, 2 at Maitsani and 2 at Gidan Baki, saying that there was no attack or any casualty at Salihawar Kalgo, Dullu and Unguwar Buntu villages. On May 16, 3 persons were killed in Faskari including military personnel according to the locals. May 16 also witnessed a violent protest by some locals over the continuous unabated attacks on their communities as residents of Daddara community and neighbouring villages of Jibia Local Government blocked the Katsina – Jibia- Maradi (Niger Republic) international gateway way in protest over the unabated killings and attacks by bandits in their domain.

However, on May 17, 4 mobile policemen were shot along Sabon Gidan Galadima – Faskari road in Katsina by bandits who laid ambush on their motorcade. The policemen were on their way to provide support to some villages in Faskari who were under attack by the bandits. Speaking on the spate of the attacks across the state of recent, Masari said people were losing confidence in the government for failing to protect them and their properties. He said the unabated insecurity prevailing in the northwest region and Katsina state, in particular, was fast making the people lose confidence in the administration. He stated this when General Leo Irabor paid him a visit in Katsina. “I’m in a very confused situation, very, very confused. I have a limitation of resources and authority. I believe that if the brigade and the division are empowered with materials and logistics, we will see the end of this,” he said.

It’s kidnapping/farmer, herder altercations in Kaduna

Since the March 1, 2020 attack that claimed 51 lives in Igabi and Giwa Local Government Areas of Kaduna State, Daily Trust reports that at least 41 people have been killed and 29 abducted in Kajuru, Chikun, Igabi, Giwa and Birnin Gwari LGAs in the last two months. The latest of bloodshed took place between May 12 and 13 when attacks and counter-attacks between Adara and Fulani groups claimed 27 lives in Kufana district of Kajuru LGA. It was followed by the abduction of the APC Deputy Chairman, Shuaibu Idris Lauje and his daughter. Before then, gunmen had abducted a housewife and her sister at Sabon Gero, a community in Chikun LGA, exactly a week after three persons were abducted including the village head of Doka in a similar operation in the community. Attacks on April 2, 8, 14, 16 and 27 in Igabi, Giwa, Chikun and Birnin Gwari Local Government Areas claimed 6 lives and 19 people abducted in various communities including Karewa and Zoron Giwa as well as Karaukarau and Gbagyi Villa. Our correspondent reports that between March 14 and 30, seven people were killed in Birnin Gwari and Chikun Local government Areas including the driver of a former legislator and three people abducted within the time frame. A day after bandits killed 51 people in Igabi and Giwa LGA, Governor Nasir El-Rufai visited the affected villages where he sought the forgiveness of the people over his failure to protect them. El-Rufai had said his administration will not negotiate with bandits but also pointed out that despite doing their best, security agents continue to face the difficulty of accessing remote areas due to poor road networks and poor telecommunication. Tribal clashes spilling blood in Taraba Between January and early May this year, 149 people were killed during communal clashes and by armed bandits in Taraba State. Ichen people claimed that they lost 20 people during a clash between them and Tiv, while the Tiv claimed that they lost 80 persons.

Also, 25 people were killed during Shomo and Jole ethnic conflict in Lau Local Government Area of the state. Similarly, 10 people killed during a clash between Tiv and Jukun in parts of Ibi and Wukari Local Government Areas during the same period. In Dananacha, Gassol Local Government Area, 5 persons were killed during a clash between Tiv and Jukun. Similarly, armed men suspected to be kidnappers killed a village head and 3 others in Karim-Lamido Local Government Area. In Sansani, Sabongida,and Dubeli in Gassol Local Government Area, suspected kidnappers killed 6 people and 7 persons were killed by unknown gunmen suspected to be kidnappers.

Terrorists proven stubborn in Borno From March to date, Boko Haram terrorists have killed no fewer than 100 persons in reported attacks in Borno State. The casualties began with the most frightening one when 47 Nigerian troops were killed in Gorgi near Goniri between Yobe and Borno states. This figure was separate from the over 100 Chadian troops killed by the terrorists on the other side of the Lake Chad bordering Borno. Within the period, the terrorists killed about 20 persons in four attacks in Askira/Uba Local Government Area; and 9 Nigerian troops in Damboa attack, where they (the terrorists) reportedly lost 20 men. They also set fire at the Ngala IDPs camp, killing 17 persons, according to reports; and 5 persons in two attacks on Chibok. Less than a month ago, they were reported to have attacked the convoy of Senator Ali Modu Sheriff (SAS) along Damaturu-Maiduguri road, killing 5 persons comprising 3 policemen and 2 civilians. They killed 2 policemen and 1 civilian JTF member in another attack that followed the first immediately. Last week, also along Damaturu-Maiduguri road, the terrorists reportedly killed 2 drivers and a conductor (assistant driver) of a leading commodity company in Nigeria.

Bandits on the prowl in Benue In Benue State, a total of 22 people in three local government areas of the state were killed by suspected bandits between March and May, 2020. But troops of Special Military Squad, Operation Whirl Stroke have achieved more feats in neutralising the bandits attacking the areas than the damages they have caused within the period.

The bandits in this May alone had killed at least eight villagers including a pregnant woman and her husband in different rural communities in Guma LGA of the state. In April, the bandits beheaded two young men in Agatu LGA of the state. Similarly, in March this year, 12 people were reportedly killed by the bandits in Kwande and Guma LGAs of the state respectively. The number of persons killed by the bandits in the three LGAs within the period in this report excluded victims of several communal clashes in the state. Few days ago, Governor Samuel Ortom suspended two third-class chiefs and a district head for their alleged roles in the protracted crisis between Shitile and Ikyurav. Those suspended are; Chief Tivlumun Ubugh, Mue Ter Chongo, Chief Ayoleve Orgunga, Mue Ter Ipusu and Chief Luke Atomigba, the district head of Mbachar.

Nigerien troops protecting our people – Gobir The Senator representing Sokoto East in the Senate, Ibrahim Gobir, yesterday said that banditry in the state had gone so bad that his constituents now rely on Nigerien soldiers for protection. This is as the Senate urged President Buhari to expand the scope of military operations against banditry to include Zamfara, Kaduna, Niger, Sokoto and other places being attacked by bandits. President Buhari had, last week, ordered the military to flush out armed bandits from Katsina. Senator Gobir, while contributing to a motion on urgent military action against bandits in Niger State, said the situation was so bad that no day passed by without people being killed or kidnapped in Sokoto. Gobir said the recurrent bandit attacks in Sokoto had resulted in the loss of 300 lives, 5,780 cows worth N2.5 billion rustled and 5,000 people displaced and taking refuge in Niger Republic. “The situation is so bad that we only get help from the Niger Republic not even from Nigeria,” he said. He said whenever there was an attack and the Nigerian army is called, they will come, patrol some metres and leave the people at the mercy of the bandits.

“Immediately you inform the commandant of a Nigerien Army at a formation few kilometres away, the officer will come with his troops and help Nigerians,” he added. Senator Gobir expressed concern that Nigeria “can’t be big for nothing and watch Nigerien Army to assist us”, urging the government to take drastic action. Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi (Niger North), who sponsored the motion, said the military onslaught against the bandits in Katsina may force them to seek safe haven elsewhere. He said the attacks by bandits were carried out under the cover of a large forest reserve and area that stretched from Katsina, Zamfara, Kaduna and Niger, with pockets of safe haven in Kebbi and Sokoto. The Red Chamber, led by Senator Ahmad Lawan urged the military and the police formations to increase surveillance operations to track the bandits’ movements to prevent them from accessing safe haven in other places.


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