During the just concluded holy month of Ramadan, states in North Western Nigeria witnessed several waves of attack orchestrated by the notorious terror-bandits in several communities.
Not minding the holy month of Ramadan, which is characteristically, marked by fasting, praying, peace and charitable donations, the dare-devil bandits did not relent in their business of blood spilling, rustling livestock, gun-running and kidnapping for ransom.
According to reports collated from Nigeria newspapers on banditry related attack during the Ramadan month, the terror-bandits carried out series of deadly attacks that culminated in the killings and abduction of many in North Western Nigeria states.
The collated reports for the period under review indicates that over 300 lives were lost to banditry-related attacks within the last four weeks in the North Western states of Zamfara, Kaduna, Katsina, Kebbi and Sokoto particularly.
The report shows that Zamfara State suffered the worst hit among the North Western Nigeria states attacked by the dare-devil bandits during the Ramadan season.
Out of the 240 persons killed, 165 were killed in Zamfara, 27 in Kaduna, 24 in Katsina, 11 in Kebbi and 12 in Sokoto State.
The collation equally revealed that out of the 302 lives lost, 23 security troops comprising of 4 soldiers and 19 policemen were killed in the month of Ramadan.
The report also reveals that the bandits were not left unpunished as no fewer than 90 bandits were neutralised in the holy month of Ramadan in North West Nigeria.
Zamfara State: 165 killed
In Zamfara, 165 persons were reportedly killed during the Ramadan season.
The 165 people killed in Zamfara comprises 4 soldiers, 78 bandits and at least, 91 civilians.
The four soldiers were reportedly killed by bandits in an ambush at Zurumi LGA on 19 April 2021.
78 of the 165 people killed in Zamfara during the Ramadan season were reported to be bandits killed in two separate attacks by men of the Nigerian Security forces.
The army troop code-named “Tsare Mutane” was credited with neutralizing the bandits during the Ramadan season.
Spokesman of the Nigerian Army confirmed the killings of scores of bandits operating across the different camps in Zamfara State.
“The troops successfully neutralised 48 bandits while the bandit’s leader in the area, Jummo sustained gunshot wound on his leg. The troops rescued 18 kidnap victims from the bandits’ enclaves,” he was quoted to have said.
He further disclosed that some key bandits leaders terrorizing the Zamfara axis were among those killed in the operation.
“ Key bandits’ leaders including Yellow Mai-Bille, Sani Meli, Dan-Katsina and Sama’ila Bakajin Bari were neutralised in the process while the main leader Nasanda narrowly escaped with fatal injuries,” he had said.
The remaining 91 people which form the bulk killed in Zamfara during the Ramadan season were said to be civilians from Gusau, Maradun, Bukura and Marun LGA.
DAILY POST gathered from the reports that the bandits were said to be moving from one village to the other, unleashing mayhem on the locals for providing informant to security agencies who have been attacking their hideouts in the forest.
The spokesman of Zamfara State Police, Mohammed Shehu, corroborated the story. He said the bandits were killing the locals for providing information about them to security agencies.
“The gunmen see the villagers as a soft target to avenge the ongoing offensive against them, “the police spokesperson was quoted to have said.
The fear of the bandits has caused many residents to desert their communities pending when relative peace is restored in their areas, the report revealed.
Kaduna State: 27 killed
In Kaduna, a total of 27 persons were reportedly killed in banditry-related attack during the Ramadan season.
4 vigilante and 23 civilians were brutally killed by the dare-devil bandits, the collated reports revealed.
Bandits on Tuesday, 13 April 2021 attacked Baka 1 and Baka 2 villages as well as surrounding villages in Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State and killed four people, leaving one person injured.
Similarly, on 11 May 2021, four vigilantes were reportedly killed by bandits while responding to a distress call at Rafin Tukurwa village, close to Dogon Dawa in Birnin Gwari Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
Equally, on 20 April 2021, bandits invaded Greenfield University and abducted scores of students. One of the school’s security guard was killed in the process.
One week later, the bandits killed 5 of the abducted students and dumped their remains in a village called Kwanar Bature.
They further threatened to kill the rest of the abducted students if government or their parents failed to pay the ransom they demanded.
Katsina State: 24 killed
In Katsina, one police officer, 3 bandits and 20 civilians were reportedly killed during the Ramadan season.
The police officer was killed in an ambush around Ruma village in Batsari LGA while returning from duty last two weeks.
Police also engaged bandits in gun battle, killed 3, recovered over 200 cows in Katsina.
The 3 bandits were killed in a gun duel with the Police at Mararabar-Gurbi, notorious route bandits used for cattle rustling.
The police recovered 1 AK-49, 2 AK-47 riffles and 200 rustled cows in the encounter.
In another attack, a camera man with the Information Unit of Jibia LGA was reportedly killed about two weeks ago at Kukar Babangida village while responding to a distress call from a female neighbour.
Also one Alhaji Musa Audu, was reportedly killed by bandits near ‘Yan gayya village in Jibiya after they seized his 41 herd of camels, a report said.
Just last week, bandits reportedly killed 11 people and injured 3 from Tsaskiya village in a broad daylight attack to avenge the killing of one of their informants.
Similarly, barely two weeks ago, armed bandits killed at least 6 persons in separate clash with villagers in Sabuwa LGA of Katsina State.
Three of the villagers reportedly died instantly while the other three died at Funtua General Hospital where they were rushed to for treatment, a report said.
Kebbi State: 11 killed
Of the 11 people killed in Kebbi in the holy month, 9 were policemen while two were vigilantes.
The nine police officers and two vigilante members were reportedly killed by bandits while responding to a distress call in Sakaba Local Government Area of Kebbi State on April 26, 2021.
The spokesman, Kebbi Police, Nafi’u Abubakar who confirmed the report was quoted to have said:
“Upon arrival in the area, the police engaged the criminals in a fire fight. Unfortunately, the DPO Sakaba and eight of his men and two vigilante members paid the supreme call defending their fatherland.”
However, no single bandit was reported killed.
Though, a security source in one of the reports alleged that the bandits also suffered casualties but did not state the nature of the damage inflicted on them.
“The bandits also suffered heavy casualties from our men,” a security source said.
With the spate of attacks lately in Kebbi State, the relative peace which the State enjoyed for decades compared to other Northern States has now been eroded by the nefarious activities of the dare-devil bandits.
Sokoto State: 12 killed
In Sokoto State, at least twelve persons were allegedly killed by bandits in two separate attacks during the holy month.
In one of the attacks, nine civilians were reportedly killed by bandits at Rarah village of Rabbah Local Government in Sokoto State.
Governor Tambuwal’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Public affairs, Abdulnasir Abubakar confirmed the attack in a condolence message on behalf of the Governor.
“Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal today condoled with the people of Rarah town of Rabah LGA over the recent killing of nine people by bandits,” he said.
In another banditry attack on Goronyo LGA in Sokoto State, eventually foiled by vigilantes on the 5th of May 2021, three suspected bandits, made up of two male and one female were arrested by the Goronyo vigilantes.
The bandits were eventually burnt alive publicly by angry youths in the community who refused to hand them over to the state security agents.
One of the residents of Goronyo community, while stating reasons for the jungle justice was quoted to have said in one of the reports that:
“The annoying thing about these bandits is that, they may be arrested and handed over to security agencies, but would be seen patrolling the streets some days later and terrorising the community again”.
Jigawa and Kano State
However, no killings related to banditry attack were reported from Jigawa and Kano State throughout the month of Ramadan.
However, from the body language of the Nigerian security troop as demonstrated during the Sallah celebration, it may not longer be business as usual for the notorious bandits.
The air component of Operation Thunder Strike of the Nigerian Air Force pounced on several camps of the dare-devil bandits, neutralizing scores of them and destroying several of their camps across Kaduna State.
The Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Kaduna State, Samuel Aruwan, disclosed this in a statement on Thursday.
He said as a result of the strike, bandits were seen fleeing Kusasu in Chikun LGA on motorcycles but they were eventually trailed and neutralized by the Operation Thunder Strike crew.
“The targets were attacked by the aircraft and it was subsequently confirmed that some bandits were indeed taken out and the camp set ablaze and destroyed.
“These air operations, which include air interdiction, armed reconnaissance, and patrols, are set to be sustained over the coming days in Kaduna metropolis and other areas of interest in the state,” he said.