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Bandits abduct Zamfara lecturer, kill nine in Katsina attack

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Bandits, in the early hours of Wednesday, kidnapped a senior lecturer of the Department of Islamic Studies, Federal University Gusau, Zamfara State, Mallam Bello Janbako.

Janbako, who is also the Director, Centre for Research at FUGUS, was kidnapped from his house in Damba, Gusau around 1.30 am.

This was as bandits, in Katsina State, on Thursday morning, killed nine people and burnt five houses in  Kukar Babangida village, Jibia Local Government Area of the state.

reports that Nigeria is battling insecurity ranging from terrorism, banditry and killer herdsmen attacks, particularly in the north.

The latest attacks came when the country has yet to recover from the grief of the Christmas Eve attacks on 15 Plateau State communities, where gunmen killed more than 150 people and razed about 221 houses, leaving over 10,000 residents displaced.

A resident told that the bandits confronted and overpowered security agents before whisking the Zamfara lecturers away early Wednesday.

His abduction comes only months after 24 students of the university were abducted by bandits in September. To date, 11 of the students are still in bandits’ captivity.

A resident, Nasamu Garba, told that the bandits broke into the lecturer’s home at Janbako around 2 o’clock in the morning on Wednesday and whisked him away.

Garba said, “When the bandits arrived at the residence of Bello Janbako, they fired several gunshots in order to frighten the residents of the area. They later broke into the house and abducted him but were confronted by the security personnel who arrived in the area on a rescue mission.

“There was a heavy fight between the bandits and the security personnel. Unfortunately, the bandits overpowered the security personnel due to their numbers and ran back into the forest with Mallam Bello Janbako.

“It is really very unfortunate this area, which is part of Gusau town, the state capital, is no longer safe.

“The bandits have been attacking us and abducting many people from this area despite its closeness to the Government House Gusau.

“If the people of Damba area are not safe, one can say that the whole state is now controlled by bandits.”

The abduction of the lecturer comes two days after the Director of Finance in the state’s Ministry of Finance, Mallam Sabiu, alongside his wife and two children, was kidnapped in Damba Housing Estate, Gusau around 1:30 am on Tuesday.

Last year, the wife and two children of another finance director, Surajo Hassan, who were also residents of the area, were abducted.

Residents of the area are currently fleeing to other places for safety.

The spokesperson for the state police command, Yazid Abubakar, could not be reached for comment, while the Commissioner for Security, Captain Bala Mairiga (retd.), did not pick up the calls placed to his mobile line.

On Thursday, the Katsina State Police Command said bandits killed nine people and burnt five vehicles in an attack on Kukar Babangida village in the Jibia Local Government Area of the state.

The command’s spokesman, Abubakar Aliyu, said police had launched a hunt for the bandits.

Aliyu said, “Today, Thursday, 11th January 2024, at about 1.30 am, suspected armed bandits in their numbers, armed with weapons such as AK-47 and shooting sporadically, attacked kukar Babangida village where they shot and killed nine persons and burnt down five vehicles.

“Operatives were swiftly deployed and normalcy was restored. Efforts are on to arrest the perpetrators of the dastardly act. Further development will be communicated in due course.”

The state Commissioner for Internal Security, Nasiru Muazu, who spoke on the incident through his spokesman, Hassan Dan-Alli, said, “The state is committed to the protection of lives and property of people of the state. We shall not relent in our efforts to ensure that our people are safe wherever they are.”

The PUNCH recalls that bandits killed no fewer than six traders last Friday morning. The traders were on their way to a local market at  Yantumaki in Danmusa Local Government Area of the state.

A former Secretary to the Katsina State Government, Alhaji Inuwa Mustapha,  urged governors of North-West states to jointly tackle banditry instead of doing it individually as currently being done.

Inuwa, in an interview with The PUNCH, also advised the governors to put pressure on the Federal Government to assist them in tackling banditry and other crimes in the region.

He said,  “I will keep saying this. Bandits may be large in numbers but they are not large enough to be a threat to national security if they are well tackled.

“In the first instance,  there is no state in Nigeria that can single-handedly tackle insecurity. It requires the collaborative efforts and support of all stakeholders, including that of the Federal Government.

“If you could recollect, from  January 2017 to 2019, Katsina put in several strategies to tackle insecurity, especially banditry. We put up amnesty, met the bandits’ leaders, banned sales of fuel in jerry cans, closed cattle markets, and shut down communication in some councils, but you know, these bandits are mobile, highly mobile. When you put up measures that are unfavourable to them in your state, they move to other states where they will be operating from.

“Let the governors come together; let them put pressure on the Federal Government. With the active support of the President, they should carry out well-coordinated simultaneous operations, using both air and ground troops in the region and with the assistance of local guides and local hunters who also know the terrains, these bandits would be tackled.

“We are concerned and every well-meaning Nigerian should be concerned too. Some schools cannot be accessed because of the activities of the bandits; so also some markets. Every day, we pray for the end of the problem.’’

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