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Banditry: We may starve to death, Sokoto communities cry out

By Rakiya A. Muhammad, Sokoto on 16/06/2019

Views: 351

•Sokoto State Governor Aminu Tambuwal
•Sokoto State Governor Aminu Tambuwal

Last Saturday’s banditry attacks that claimed 25 lives in some villages of Rabah Local Government Area of Sokoto State left a trail of anguish.

Rakwabni village was the worst-affected, with 17 persons, including a 6-year-old girl, reportedly killed. The village, 7km from popular Gandi town of Rabah, has since been completely abandoned by residents.

After sacking the entire village, the bandits allegedly rustled all the cows, which the villagers used for farming activities, and transportation.

Other affected villages include Gidan Bedi, Kalfu-Tsege, Kwalfa Agaji and Kaiwa Gari.

Chief Imam of Rakwabni and leader of the vigilante outfit in the area, Imam Dahiru, 53, said before the attack, Rakwabni was about the only community in the locality that had not been attacked by bandits.

“Because we in Rakwabni are well-trained and involved in vigilante activities, and pose a great threat to the bandits operating here,” he explained.

Dahiru revealed that on many occasions they encountered the bandits, they seized the cattle they rustled from innocent people and returned them to the owners. “So, the recent attack was a sort of reprisal for how much of a thorn we are in their flesh.”

Dahiru added: “The bandits know that they cannot overrun us and that’s why they sneaked up on us. We learnt that they came in over 50 motorcycles and a Hilux truck.”

He said no member of his vigilante group was killed, noting that all those who died were unarmed, defenceless residents.

Also speaking with Daily Trust Saturday, Village Head of Rakwabni, Yusuf Idris, 52, disclosed that he narrowly escaped, when the bandits arrived and met him by the village mosque.

“I heard a single gunshot somewhere around Babangida area of the village, and before I realised what was going on, more gunshots followed. In a flash, I was surrounded by armed bandits, masked and dressed in all-black, riding motorcycles,” he recounted.

Idris added: “But thank God, I was close to my motorcycle, which is in good condition, so I just started it and sped off. They tried to stop me, but I manoeuvred away and sped off to safety, from where I made calls for help.”

However, Police Public Relations Officer Sokoto Command ASP Sadiq Abubakar told Daily Trust Saturday: “Unlike previously when attacks were carried out, this time we have suspects at hand.”

He said the police arrested four suspects, two males and two females in connection with the attacks.

Rahamu Abubakar, 30, who trekked the 6km from Rakwabni to Kurya in the company of other women, said the bandits killed five elderly people from her family.

“We only survived because we are women; they did not touch women or children,” she said.

Heavily pregnant Shamsiyya, 20, with her first child strapped on her back, also trekked the 6km alongside other traumatized Rakwabni women and children.

“We arrived Kurya just after Maghrib, exhausted, but grateful to God,” she said.

It was still a great shock for Hawa’u Ibrahim, 60, as the bandits killed three teenagers from her family. She could not utter a word, dazed by the trauma.

Villagers lamented what they said was a very disturbing aspect of the attack: the interruption of their farming activities, just when it was being fully commenced. They called on government to ensure adequate security is put in place.

One of them said: “If we cannot farm this year, how will we get what to feed our families with? We are all going to starve to death.”

Dangaladima Muhammadu Bello, Village Head of Kurya, where Rakwabni villagers are taking refuge, said about 4,000 displaced persons are taking refuge in his domain, a majority hosted by good Samaritans, including himself.

He called on government at all tiers to provide adequate security for Rakwabni villagers so that they could go back to their farms.

Many displaced females also expressed eagerness for the authorities to restore security, and for normalcy to return.

Our correspondent, in the company of Village Head Idris, had to abort a trip to Rakwabni village midway, as three kilometres in, some fleeing motorcyclists on high speed shouted ‘Go back! We heard shooting! Bandits may be attacking nearby villages!’

On the way back to Gandi following the failed mission, many displaced people, including women and children, on motorcycles and donkeys, could be seen fleeing.

Governor Aminu Tambuwal assured that the state government, in collaboration with the Federal Government, is working to ensure banditry and other criminal activities in the state are tackled.

Executive Chairman Zakat and Endowment Commission, Malam Lawal Maidoki, said 10 trucks of assorted grains were provided by the state government for distribution to affected communities. (Daily Trust)

 

 

 

Last Saturday’s banditry attacks that claimed 25 lives in some villages of Rabah Local Government Area of Sokoto State left a trail of anguish.

Rakwabni village was the worst-affected, with 17 persons, including a 6-year-old girl, reportedly killed. The village, 7km from popular Gandi town of Rabah, has since been completely abandoned by residents.

After sacking the entire village, the bandits allegedly rustled all the cows, which the villagers used for farming activities, and transportation.

Other affected villages include Gidan Bedi, Kalfu-Tsege, Kwalfa Agaji and Kaiwa Gari.

Chief Imam of Rakwabni and leader of the vigilante outfit in the area, Imam Dahiru, 53, said before the attack, Rakwabni was about the only community in the locality that had not been attacked by bandits.

“Because we in Rakwabni are well-trained and involved in vigilante activities, and pose a great threat to the bandits operating here,” he explained.

Dahiru revealed that on many occasions they encountered the bandits, they seized the cattle they rustled from innocent people and returned them to the owners. “So, the recent attack was a sort of reprisal for how much of a thorn we are in their flesh.”

Dahiru added: “The bandits know that they cannot overrun us and that’s why they sneaked up on us. We learnt that they came in over 50 motorcycles and a Hilux truck.”

He said no member of his vigilante group was killed, noting that all those who died were unarmed, defenceless residents.

Also speaking with Daily Trust Saturday, Village Head of Rakwabni, Yusuf Idris, 52, disclosed that he narrowly escaped, when the bandits arrived and met him by the village mosque.

“I heard a single gunshot somewhere around Babangida area of the village, and before I realised what was going on, more gunshots followed. In a flash, I was surrounded by armed bandits, masked and dressed in all-black, riding motorcycles,” he recounted.

Idris added: “But thank God, I was close to my motorcycle, which is in good condition, so I just started it and sped off. They tried to stop me, but I manoeuvred away and sped off to safety, from where I made calls for help.”

However, Police Public Relations Officer Sokoto Command ASP Sadiq Abubakar told Daily Trust Saturday: “Unlike previously when attacks were carried out, this time we have suspects at hand.”

He said the police arrested four suspects, two males and two females in connection with the attacks.

Rahamu Abubakar, 30, who trekked the 6km from Rakwabni to Kurya in the company of other women, said the bandits killed five elderly people from her family.

“We only survived because we are women; they did not touch women or children,” she said.

Heavily pregnant Shamsiyya, 20, with her first child strapped on her back, also trekked the 6km alongside other traumatized Rakwabni women and children.

“We arrived Kurya just after Maghrib, exhausted, but grateful to God,” she said.

It was still a great shock for Hawa’u Ibrahim, 60, as the bandits killed three teenagers from her family. She could not utter a word, dazed by the trauma.

Villagers lamented what they said was a very disturbing aspect of the attack: the interruption of their farming activities, just when it was being fully commenced. They called on government to ensure adequate security is put in place.

One of them said: “If we cannot farm this year, how will we get what to feed our families with? We are all going to starve to death.”

Dangaladima Muhammadu Bello, Village Head of Kurya, where Rakwabni villagers are taking refuge, said about 4,000 displaced persons are taking refuge in his domain, a majority hosted by good Samaritans, including himself.

He called on government at all tiers to provide adequate security for Rakwabni villagers so that they could go back to their farms.

Many displaced females also expressed eagerness for the authorities to restore security, and for normalcy to return.

Our correspondent, in the company of Village Head Idris, had to abort a trip to Rakwabni village midway, as three kilometres in, some fleeing motorcyclists on high speed shouted ‘Go back! We heard shooting! Bandits may be attacking nearby villages!’

On the way back to Gandi following the failed mission, many displaced people, including women and children, on motorcycles and donkeys, could be seen fleeing.

Governor Aminu Tambuwal assured that the state government, in collaboration with the Federal Government, is working to ensure banditry and other criminal activities in the state are tackled.

Executive Chairman Zakat and Endowment Commission, Malam Lawal Maidoki, said 10 trucks of assorted grains were provided by the state government for distribution to affected communities. (Daily Trust)

 

•Sokoto State Governor Aminu Tambuwal

Source News Express

Posted 16/06/2019 05:45:22 AM

 

 

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