General News

Villagers flee as bandits attack 50 Zamfara communities

A member of the House of Representatives representing Zurmi/Shinkafa Federal Constituency, Bello Hassan, on Tuesday, said bandits had attacked no fewer than 50 communities in the Zurmi Local Government Area of Zamfara State.


Hassan, who made the statement during an interview with one of our correspondents in Abuja, said the incessant attacks by the bandits had forced residents of the affected communities to abandon their ancestral homes, reports The PUNCH.


Speaking on one of the attacks which happened last Monday, Hassan said the bandits invaded the Gidan Shaho community in large numbers.


He stated, ‘’Not less than 50 villages have been attacked by these elements and the residents of those villages displaced. Whenever the military attacked the gunmen; they (gunmen) retaliated by attacking the villagers. It is sad! Something should be done about this to safeguard the lives of the people in Zamfara communities.


“The security people are aware of what is happening but they are doing nothing. Last Monday, when the bandits were having a meeting, the vigilantes, police and military were aware. But when the military decided to go and confront them, unknown to them, the bandits were at a primary school in the Gidan Shaho community.


“As soon as the military passed them, they entered the village and attacked the residents. In the process, they killed two members of the vigilante group and two policemen but nothing happened to the military men.


“The affected people who have fled their homes are seeking refuge in schools, making it difficult for students and pupils to access their schools. They are afraid of going to the villages because when they do, they get abducted.


“The military and other security agents should be fully catered for. Even the allowances voted for them, are they getting it? The state governments are doing their best and paying a lot; yet, the gunmen are killing their people. Let there be close monitoring of the communication system and those behind these attacks should be brought to book.”


Hassan, while demanding the mobilization of resources to tackle the insecurity bedevilling the affected communities in his constituency, urged the Federal Government to intervene in the matter.”


Contacted by one of our correspondents for a reaction on the incident on Tuesday, Suleiman Idris, the spokesperson for the Governor of the state, Dauda Lawal, promised to get back to our correspondent but had yet to do so as of the time this report was filed.


In his reaction, the state Police Public Relations Officer, Yazid Abubakar, said, “With regard to what he (the lawmaker) has said, a team has been set and the operation is ongoing.”


When contacted, Defence Headquarters denied allegations against the military, adding that the lawmaker’s disclosure on the attack could not be substantiated.


In a telephone interview with our correspondent on Tuesday, the Director, Defence Media Operations, Major General Edward Buba, said, “The ongoing counter terrorism and counter insurgency operations across the country have prevented the terrorists and their cohorts from accomplishing their strategic objectives.


“For instance, in OP HADARIN DAJI theatre of Operation, troops launch a new operation in the Tsafe LGA of Katsina State and the operation is spanning communities within the state. These operations are ongoing, therefore some things are better left unsaid at this time.


He further noted that, “On the issue of rotation or overstayed troops in operational area. It is no news that, the current military leadership upon assumption of office addressed several of these issues. In fact, both issues were prioritised in line with enhancing troops’ welfare and administration.


“As such, it is display of utter ignorance, for anyone in touch with communities in which troops are deployed, not to be aware of something so conspicuous. For emphasis, troops are being rotated within the Theatre, while overstayed troops are being posted out of operational theatre.


“Overall, there is need for the media to be circumspect of misinformation, disinformation and fake news which are all tools in warfare. The adversary uses the medium to serve their purposes. More often than not, the purpose of such information is myopic and aimed at dampening troops’ spirit and morale, which must be resisted by all means.


“Our gallant troops, even now, are putting themselves in harm’s way and fighting to secure our nation and citizens. We will not be distracted by unsubstantiated information (over 50 nameless communities), rather we will remain focussed on our mission to destroy the terrorist and their cohorts as well as dismantle their terror infrastructure.”


Attacks by bandits in Zamfara communities have raged over the years, continually posing threats to communities and food security as farmers fear to go to farms.


No fewer than 49 persons were reportedly killed by bandits during a five-day-long operation in Zamfara last week.


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