While the Nigerian Troops are making significant progress in flushing out criminals in Zamfara State by killing 21 bandits, armed bandits on Monday reportedly attacked a community in the state, kidnapping over a dozen people, including a new bride, and some nursing mothers.
The incident happened at Zurmi Local Government Area at about 11:45 p.m. Residents said the heavily armed bandits shot sporadically into the air, scaring residents, Premium Times reported.
Falalu Ashafa, a teacher at Government Girls Secondary School, Zurmi, said his wife, mother, two children and nanny are among those kidnapped in the Monday attack.
He said after the attack, 26 persons, including three lactating mothers, and a newly-weded bride were missing and believed to have been kidnapped.
The Zurmi attack is coming two days after PREMIUM TIMES reported a similar attack on a viewing centre at Birnin Magaji. In that attack, seven people were kidnapped and are yet to be released as at Tuesday morning.
The security agencies in Zamfara are yet to make any official statement on the Saturday attack.
Killings and kidnapping for ransom have continued in Zamfara communities, despite security reinforcement and subsequent change of the police commissioner in the state.
When contacted, the Zamfara police spokesperson, Mohammed Shehu, said the police repelled the Monday night attack but later realised that 13 people had been kidnapped.
He said the hoodlums stormed Majema area in Zurmi with a view to causing mayhem and breakdown of law and order in the community.
“On the spur of the moment, combined teams of Police/Military and Civilian JTF Stationed in Zurmi responded promptly and repelled the attack.
“As a result, the attackers were forced to beat a retreat back to Dumburum forest. Sadly enough, 13 Persons were later discovered to have been kidnapped by the attackers.
“The command in its efforts to ensure the successful rescue of the Kidnapped Victims dispatched a Search and Rescue Operation team to Complement the effort of the Joint Security Personnel Currently on extensive bush combing.
“The press will be duly briefed on the outcome of the rescue operation.
“The command appeals for continued support and cooperation with the police and other security agencies by giving timely and useful information on activities of criminal elements in the state.”
Soldiers of the 25 task force brigade of the Nigerian army ride newly motorcycles which have been inaugurated by Nigerian Army Chief Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, to provide security on reopened highways, in northeast Nigerian state of Borno, on February 27, 2016.
Major roads to and from Maiduguri in northeast Nigeria have been reopened, the chief of army staff said on February 27, 2016, nearly three years after they were shut because of Boko Haram attacks. / AFP / STRINGER
Troops kill 21 bandits, capture 17 in Zamfara, Katsina
Troops of Operation Sharan Daji have between January 22 and 28 neutralised 21 bandits, captured 17 and rescued 89 persons taken hostage by the bandits in Zamfara and Katsina States.
Giving an update on the operation in a statement on Tuesday, Maj. Clement Abiade, the Acting Force Information Officer, Operation Sharan Daji, said 55 of the freed captives were held captives in Bukkuyum Local Government Area of Zamfara.
Abiade said they had been debriefed and reunited with their families, adding that most of them are from communities in Zamfara.
He also disclosed that two bandits’ informants, Musa Amadu and Auwalu Mutairu, were arrested at Danfumi village in Birnin Magaji and were currently assisting troops with intelligence.
“It is significant to inform the general public that 11 civilians and one vigilance group member were killed by bandits during the period in focus.
“It is also important to state that six persons were kidnapped at Asoula village in Tsafe Local Government Area and not in Birnin Magaji as reported by some media houses,” he said.
The information officer said during the period under review, one single barrel gun, two locally made pistols and 20 cartridges of double barrel bullets were recovered from the bandits.
He listed other recovered arms as 60 rounds of 7.62mm, special one AK-47 magazine containing 18 Rounds of 7.62mm special, two dane guns, four motorcycles and large quantity of Indian hemp and illicit drugs.
“The operation is designed to identify and destroy bandits’ camps/enclaves,’’ he said.