It was a terrifying moment for residents of Yankara village in Faskari Local Government Area of Katsina State when dozens of armed bandits stormed the village and kidnapped a bride-to-be and her best friend 48 hours to her wedding Fatiha.
The heavily armed bandits, who stormed the village on motorbikes at night when most villagers had gone to bed, went to the family house of the bride-to-be and demanded for her and her best friend, a source told Daily Trust on Sunday.
According to the source, the bandits also carted away huge quantities of food items and other valuables during the operation. “We were terrified by excessive gun shots. They woke up every single living thing in this village.
Some people who were able to escape, slept in the bush, while those who remained behind had to meet the demands of the bandits, who chose the sort of foodstuff they wanted and asked the villagers to put them in sacks.
“Anybody caught by the bandits had no option than to comply with their directives or risk being killed.However, as I am speaking with you, we do not know the whereabouts of the kidnapped bride-to-be and her friend.” Over 620 women and children from Batsari LGA are currently taking refuge at the premises of Arabic Teachers College Kofar Kwaya in Katsina metropolis after escaping several attacks on their communities by bandits.
Malama Habi Abdullahi, a resident of Kandawa village in Batsari Local Government, is one of the refugees at the Government Arabic Teachers College Kofar Kwaya. Recounting the attack, Habi said: “I heard a loud noise and choose to ignore it at first, assuming it was children playing outside. The noise became louder, followed by gun shots. I quickly grabbed my child and headed outside and then saw people running to safety also.” Malama Habiba said as she ran with no particular direction in mind, she saw bandits on motorcycles setting houses ablaze and shooting people. Many died while others are still nursing their injuries. “Over 300 motorcycles attacked the village with each carrying more than two persons armed with guns,”she said. Another refugee, Malama Hafsu Mohammed, a mother of six whose husband was killed last year in a similar attack, said “Three weeks ago, the bandits attacked our village; we all ran away and now sleep in the open and live on the mercies of people who support us with food and clothing.” For Malama Fati Hassan of Yau-Yau village, the whereabouts of her children, dead or alive, is still unknown. “As I speak, I don’t know the whereabouts of my children. I have four children and I don’t know if they are alive or not. These bandits attacked us for straight seven days. We managed to escape to this place.”
Many communities in both southern and central Katsina have witnessed series of attacks by bandits, who specialise in kidnapping, robbing, maiming, killing and rustling animals. Villages like Marabar Maigora, Sabon Layin Galadima Faskari Yamma were among the worst hit in Faskari and Sabuwa local government areas respectively, according to a source.
Other villages affected include Yandaka, Kandawa, Bakiyawa, Runka, Yau-Yau, Yar-Gamji, Garin Labo, Ruma, Wagini and Ruwan Faru among others. Daily Trust on Sunday observed that the worst hit local governments include Jibia, Batsari, Danmusa, Safana, Kankara, Sabuwa, Faskari, and Dandume. Others are Dutsinma, Kurfi, Batagarawa, Kaita, Kafur and Malumfashi. Lamenting the situation, the Sarkin Rumah and District Head of Batsari, Alhaji Tukur Muazu, said a lot of his people had been displaced in virtually all villages under his domain.
“We had little respite for a while but from the beginning of the Ramadan fast till now, hardly a day passes without an attack.” “They chase people, collect their animals, kill those they want to kill, and kidnap some. I can’t say what they want or what is causing this, but clearly, it’s the lack of fear for God; if not, you can’t just kill someone for denying you his property.”
He, however, alleged that “Government is aware of everything happening because it has been going on since the last administration. When a new government came, it subsided and now it has resumed.” He noted that a peace deal was reached and the area had peace for a while and everyone returned to their normal lives, however, life can’t be said to be the same presently. Alhaji Tukur Muazu also told Daily Trust on Sunday that he had exhausted his farm produce feeding people taking refuge in his home as he has lost count of the number of people in his home.
“Many villages are now deserted and occupied by the bandits. We need urgent intervention from the Federal Government because the bandits see themselves as being above the law,” he pleaded.
However, Alhaji Abdullahi Ibrahim Mahuta, a special adviser to Governor Aminu Bello Masari,blamed theFederal Government for the insecurity in the state, saying “the issue of insecurity in Katsina State is purely a failure of the Federal Government. The governor has limitations in controlling the security apparatus such as army, police and the rest of other security agencies.
“The governor cannot buy weapons for the security personnel in order to confront the bandits. The only thing a governor can do is to complement the security agencies by assisting them to fuel their vehicles, buy patrol vans or give them accommodation. Only the Federal Government can buy sophisticated weapons and ammunitions for the security personnel and it is only the president that can order the security personnel to engage the bandits.