Some victims of bandits’ attacks in Danko/Wasagu Local Government Area of Kebbi state have cried out over persistent invasions and abduction in their communities by bandits.
They also condemned the alleged silence by government and security agencies over the attacks which has led to destruction of lives and property.
One of the community leaders who spoke under condition of anonymity, said since January 2020 to January 2021, a total of 363 people were killed by bandits while 16 others were injured.
He said within the same period, ransom, totally N70.6 million was paid to secure the release of 201 people abducted by the bandits.
He disclosed further that 3,915 cattle, 2,355 sheep and 150 camels were rustled by the criminals.
According to him, six women were raped while 114 Motorcycles were either burnt or stolen.
Daku/Wasagu LGA is bordered by Zamfara, Kaduna and Niger states where banditry and kidnappings are very rampant.
According to the community leader, the bandits are camped in the forests and hilly areas surrounding the communities and it is feared that they may have joined forces with Boko Haram terrorists.
“Information in at our disposal shows that they are expanding their spaces as many communities in the area have fled their villages and a coalition of the armed groups have taken over unchallenged.
The community leader alleged that since the attacks which started last year, the government has been silent about their plight.
Some of the victims who spoke in an interview narrated their horrifying experiences in the hands of the bandits and called on the government to take urgent steps to address the situation.
One of the victims, Nuhu Bitrus, 44 and a father of four, from Munhaye village, Wasagu Chiefdom, said he has become an internally displaced person (IPD) in Dabai, a suburb of Zuru town, Zuru LGA of the state.
He said in one of the attacks which took place on January 23, 2021, 33 people were killed while 20 others, mainly women and children were abducted.
“They stormed our village on over 100 motorbikes. They just went straight and started shooting and killing. We lost 33 people and they kidnapped about 20 women among them, little children,” he said.
According to him, his community “has had disagreements with Fulani in the past and we know what they can do, but these ones were Boko Haram.”
He added that, “Some people said they saw some of the Fulani that had lived with us but left some time ago.”
According to him, the gunmen also had people from Niger Republic and Chad.
Bitrus said, “Ever since that time, we have managed to pack our belongings and travelled for over three hours to be received here”.
“Our village is a large one with over 500 compounds and we were prosperous farmers who could take care of our needs and sponsor our kids in school. Now we cannot go near the village.
“No one is talking about us. I am happy you came.
“We don’t want anything from the government. All we want is a secured condition so that we can return home to our farming. That’s all we are asking”.
Also narrating his ordeal, Wakala Audu, 50 and father of 11 children and two wives, from
D’Lombo, said he fled his home with his entire household to IDP camp.
He said on April 1, 2021, the hoodlums who were in large number, invaded his community at about 4pm.
“They just started shooting, killing and looting. They killed 17 persons that day, including our mai anguwa (sub-village head), Mallam Maifada Matu. “They stole my 23 cows and hundreds of cows belonging to my relations and other residents of the village.
“We escaped into the bush with our wives and children. After two days, the governor (of Kebbi state, Bagudu Atiku) came to visit.”
Audu said, the governor made a donation of N50,000 to each family with children that were orphaned as a result of the violence.
He said his village had been deserted as residents fled, leaving behind valuables they could not carry in a hurry.
“Nobody is saying anything about us. I am surprised you came,” he said.
Also, an 85 year old grand mother, Mrs. Rhoda James who is also at the Dabai IDP camp said she lost her son and grand son aged 40 and 30 years respectively.
“They killed over 30 people and kidnapped 23 people. My junior sister Mary, her son, his wife and two children were kidnapped.
“I am aware that a N2 million ransom was paid after they spent 41 days in the hands of the bandits”, she said.
Efforts to speak with the Chairman of the LGA, Alhaji Sule Barshi was not possible at the time of filing this report