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UncategorizedAre Kaduna Bandits moving from Forest to City?

Are Kaduna Bandits moving from Forest to City?

By Femi Mustapha
Banditry is not a new phenomenon in the Northwest zone of Nigeria in general, and Kaduna State in particular. There is no gainsaying that the Crocodile City and environs is under siege from these marauders.
Recently, the State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai did not hide his feelings while presenting the security incidents report for the second quarter of 2021 when he expressed concern over the escalating insecurity in the State.
According to him, available data on security incidents in the state during the Second quarter of 2021 reflects the real agony of the citizens and communities, their pains and losses, and the fears and anxiety that have created considerable distress.
El-Rufai lamented that in the first three months of this year, some 323 people were killed, while 949 persons were kidnapped by bandits in the state.
However, the Second quarter Security report presented by the government covering April to June 2021, showed a slight decline in violence as some 222 persons were killed and 774 people kidnapped by bandits. The decline was promptly followed by mass abduction of School Children, an action that triggered the closure of Schools in rural communities by the state government.
Though, the bandits are not also finding it easy with the security operatives.
Troops of the Nigerian Air Force, component of the Operation Thunder Strike recently raided bandits’ hideouts in the Birnin Gwari Local Government Area of Kaduna State and killed at least 24 bandits, making the forest not a comfortable hideout.
Similarly, the Military recently eliminated 70 bandits and Cattle rustlers in the Kachia forests. Findings revealed that
the operation which combined ground and Air offensives, was carried out by troops of Operation Thunderstrike in conjunction with troops of 312 Artillery Regiment and Local Vigilantes.
Troops have been canvassing the various forest in Kachia, Chikun
Birnin Gwari Local Government Areas of the State, scouting for and engaging the bandits. This has resulted in the elimination of many of them.
However, the situation still looks worrisome, which made Zamfara State Governor, Bello Matawalle, recently announce that there are at least 100 camps and 30,000 bandits spread across six states in the Northern region. This number  makes up the Armed Forces elsewhere
The successes recorded against the bandits in the forests seem to have triggered them to change tactics. Since the Forest is now becoming too hot for them because of the strong onslaught by the gallant troops, changing of location is the best option for them.
Recently, the media was agog with the killing of  Yellow Magaji, a bandits Kingpin who terrorized the dreaded Abuja-Kaduna Highway. The surprising revelation about his death was that he met his Waterloo in a heart of Kaduna city rather than the Forest.
Yellow Magaji was said to have been killed by the Operatives of Kaduna Police Command, in Collaboration with the Federal Intelligence Bereau and Special Tactical Squad Force(FIB STS), at Sir Joe Guest House located at 8, Sajo street, Unguwan Maigero area of Sabon Tasha in Chikun LGA.
It was reported that Arushe’s partner, Yellow Ashana, and others who lodged in the hotel escaped with bullet wounds during the gun duel.
In the same vein, a dismissed Army personnel turned kidnapper,Lance Corporal Adamu Galadima, was arrested in the hearthrob of Badarawa Area Kaduna North Local Government but not untill he has successfully kidnapped and killed his neighbor’s 5 year old son after collecting ransom.
Another case worthy of mention is that of a Village Head of U/Luka in  Maraba Rido ward of Chikun Local Government Area, who not only succeeded in planning kidnapping operations but in collaboration with his friend rented an apartment for bandits in the community.
The said apartment served as a base to lunch attacks and a hiding place for the bandits. The two men are cooling their feat at Kaduna Police Command after their arrests.
The new operation moods of the bandits came to the fore when a commercial motorcyclist popularly call ‘Okada’, who was supposed to be a guide to the Staff of Zaria Local Government Council, for a condolence visit to a village, led them to the kidnappers’ Den. Ransom running in tens of millions of Naira was said to have been paid before they regained freedom.
This development should be a thing of concern to all because the enemies in the forest seem to be coming to the city. Kaduna residents need to be on the watch and collaborate with the security agencies to curb this trend.
The economy of the state has been devastated, People were traumatized. Farmers were prevented from going to their farms to cultivate the usual food and cash crops for their daily needs. There was general food insecurity in the state in particular and the region in general.
While the entire northwest is witnessing frightening violence, Kaduna is increasingly becoming the volatile of insecurity in the region, particularly in the last year. Some attribute the pressure and convergence of criminal activities on the state as a test of the state government’s courageous stance on payment of ransom.
El-Rufai has stated repeatedly that he would not pay ransom to anybody. But the security crisis in Kaduna is also traced to other overlapping factors, chiefly, the farmer-herder conflict over access to land use between communities as well as criminal gangs engaged in general banditry, cattle stealing, and kidnapping for ransom.
The situation, of course, has been exacerbated by the socio-economic conditions in the country and recent events is a wakeup call for the citizens and this is not the time to sleep with the two eyes closed, rather a time to be vigilant.

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