Gunmen under the control of Turji, a notorious bandits’ leader in Zamfara, are on rampage, abducting villagers and travellers in the Shinkafi Local Government Area of the state.
The attacks, which started on Friday, are in reaction to the arrest of Turji’s father, Daily Trust reports.
Sheik Gumi with bandits
About 150 persons have been taken hostage by the group in the last 24 hours.
Sources said security agents picked up Turji’s father in Kano about two weeks ago and his whereabouts have remained unknown.
Kurya, Keta, Kware, Badarawa, Marisuwa, Maberaya are among the villages that were sacked on Friday.
Aside from sacking the villages, the bandits also reportedly abducted many travellers along Gusau-Sokoto Road.
It was gathered that the bandits’ leader vowed that if his father would be stopped from performing the upcoming Sallah at home, he would also ensure that many other people spend the period without their families.
“He was called on the phone during a meeting between the communities and security agents and he faulted the basis of his father’s arrest, saying he is the one that is the terrorist, with his location known, and saw no reason his father will be arrested,” the newspaper quoted a source as saying.
The latest attack on villages is coming months after Islamic cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi met with the Turji.
SaharaReporters had February reported how the Islamic cleric met with the bandits’ leader in Makkai forest.
Turji had during the meeting lamented that Fulani were being singled out, impoverished and beaten on the road by indigenes of Zamfara.
He added that without reconciliation, there was no way the problem would end, adding that only God knows how many weapons they had and what they could do if they wanted to destabilise the state.
The top commander of the bandits added that they were not afraid to die and that even if he died, hundreds of people were available to take over leadership from him.
Security sources told SaharaReporters that Turji was trained by Buharin Daji, a notorious bandit that was killed by security operatives about three years ago.
Turji took charge of the Shinkafi armed wing of the group after the demise of Daji.
Zamfara, like other North-West states, has in the last 10 years faced devastating attacks from armed bandits.
A committee set up to investigate the menace of armed banditry in the region, headed by Mohammed Abubakar, a former Inspector General of Police, reported that in Zamfara State between June 2011 and May 2019, 4,983 women were widowed; 25,050 children were orphaned; and more than 190,000 people were displaced as a result of banditry.
SaharaReporters, New York