Katsina villagers relocate for fear of being killed, kidnapped

Posted by Idris Mahmoud, Katsina | 2 June 2018 | 2,121 times

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•People fleeing their community for safety

Incessant banditry in the axis of Sabuwa and Dandume Local Government Areas of Katsina State have forced many villagers to relocate to nearby towns for fear of being killed, kidnapped or robbed.

The development, which evolved from cattle rustling about four years ago, has now become full-blown robbery, kidnapping and sometimes indiscriminate killing of farmers in the area.

According to residents of the area, besides the fact that many of them have deserted their homes, farmers close to Birnin Gwari forest have ruled out farming this year for fear of the armed bandits.

Alhaji Muntari, a farmer in Sabuwa, told Daily Trust that no fewer than three villages in the area have completely relocated to Dandume town.

“Because the bandits are mostly after large scale and well-to-do farmers, many of the villagers in that category are relocating with their families to Dandume for safety. Kalagi and Unguwar Kagarko are examples of villages where some individuals relocated to Dandume for safety,” said Muntari.

He added that those of them left in the villages constantly keep vigil.

The entire residents of Unguwar Liman have relocated to Dandume after the bandits visited them five times but without successfully abducting anybody.

In their last invasion, according to Liman Muhammad Lawal, a religious leader, they attempted to abduct two married women after robbing one Ibrahim, who sells cattle at Sabuwa Market.

“Change of environment is not easy but a necessary step to save our lives and that of our families. Because we are now far away from our farms, many of us have not started farming activities and in a town like Dandume, one cannot engage in gainful business without the necessary capital,” said Liman Muhammad Lawal.

He further explained that in the neighbouring villages of Bulange and Kyaware, two people were kidnapped and killed by the armed bandits, which prompted the relocation of some individuals from the two villages to Dandume.

In a similar development, residents of Unguwar Dankure in Sabuwa LGA have also relocated to Dandume after incessant invasions of their neighbouring villages, as well as threats from the bandits.

“We have not experienced either killing or kidnapping in the village but as precautionary measure, we decided to leave after the abduction of one Alhaji Ahmadu of Gwammaja Village,” said a resident, Bello Musa.

A vigilante leader at Damari, Sabuwa LGA, said deployment of soldiers to the area has improved the security situation as well as boosted their vigilante work as they are always in touch with the soldiers, especially when they sense an attack.

“With the worsening security situation, almost every able-bodied individual in our area is a vigilante. For example in Kyaware, Albasu and Damari, we keep vigil every night. When we spot the bandits coming, we inform neighbouring villages through phone calls and when the threat is beyond our capacity we call on the military or police division at Sabuwa and they are really cooperating.”

The Wakilin Damari, Alhaji Hayatu Abdulkarim, said it is becoming worrisome that every day the bandits invade one village or the other along the Birnin Gwari and Zamfara axis.

“Four Children, including toddlers, were recently abducted by bandits at Damari Hayin Kasuwa and at different times Unguwar Kagarko and Unguwar Lawal Dan-gade were invaded by the armed bandits.”

He commended the effort of soldiers deployed to the area, especially on how they promptly respond to every distress call from the villagers.

Abdulkarim faulted some overzealous persons who are fond of saying over the media that peace has been restored while they have no knowledge of what is actually happening in the remote areas.

There are unconfirmed reports that Tashar Bawa village along Dandume-Birnin Gwari Road is deserted but this reporter could not reach the said village, as commercial vehicles do not ply the road.

Travellers, including truck drivers, going to Birnin Gwari and beyond go through Kaduna as the kidnapping of passengers are frequently reported along the Mokwa-BirninGwari-Funtua Road. (Daily Trust)

Source: News Express

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