*Locals hail terrorists for coming to their rescue 

*Two farmers fall victims, as scores of residents leave town

By Ibrahim Hassan-Wuyo

Heavy casualties were reportedly recorded on Wednesday evening when Ansaru terrorists engaged bandits in a gun duel in Birni-Gwari Local Government Area of Kaduna State.

The confrontation ensued when bandits numbering about 200 on motorcycles and wielding sophisticated weapons attacked Damari town in Kazage Ward in the eastern part of the local government.

Read Also: Boko Haram, bandits are different from IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu— El-Rufai

Before the bandits’ arrival, the Ansaru terrorists were already in the town preaching to the locals with a view to establishing an Islamic state in the region where they would be in authority and also advising the locals to acquire arms to defend themselves against their enemies. 

The bandits on their part usually came to attack and plunder the communities, killing and kidnapping for ransom and rustling cattle before retreating into the forests. The bandits therefore stormed the town even though they knew the terrorists were on ground.

Ishaq Usman Kasai, Chairman of Birnin-Gwari Emirate Peoples Union,BEPU, told newsmen yesterday that on hearing the sporadic gunshots from the bandits, the Ansaru members moved towards them and started exchanging fire.

“They clashed for about an hour. The Ansaru members who were also heavily armed overpowered the bandits who had to retreat and ran away,” he said.

According to him, “during the clash, there were some damages in the town. One shop, two vehicles and  one private hospital were burnt down. Two locals who were returning from their farms were also killed by the armed bandits who were running away to the  forest.” He said the private hospital got burnt by accident as a result of the fire that spread from the second vehicle being burnt nearby.

He added that,”as a result of this, most of the community members appreciated and hailed the Ansaru members for defending the town from the bandits’ attack, otherwise it could have been worse.

“Hundreds of persons including women and children migrated from the town as a result of the attack which was a very organized one because the armed bandits knew that the Ansaru members were covering the town. Hence, it was countered by the Ansaru members.

“However, the casualty figure between the armed bandits and the Ansaru members could not be ascertained.

“The Ansaru members continued to preach and to administer Sharia Justice system to the  locals and also advised them to acquire arm to defend themselves against enemies as well as fight government in order to establish what they refered to as Islamic State.”

The police were yet to issue a statement on the clash between the Ansaru terrorists and the rampaging bandits.

It will be recalled that between January and May, many communities in Birnin Gwari Local Government  have come under attacks by armed bandits. Though the number of cases reported by the media stands at 11 within less than five months, villagers said there are many more unreported ones.

The attackers appear to pick villages at random, as there appears to be no pointer as to what informs their choice. Both thickly and sparsely populated communities have been attacked, and some were looted, while for some, nothing was taken. Some have had their houses burnt, while some were spared. 

On April 1, bandits attacked Tsohuwar Gwari village, killed two men and abducted nine persons. While the people were yet to get over their plight, the bandits struck at a nearby village called Sarari the next day, and killed the village head, and five others.

The casualty rate in all these attacks within less than five months, has equally been alarming, as within this year alone, no less than 112 persons have been killed, shot or stabbed to death. This includes 11 soldiers, some weeks back, in which case about 18 persons were abducted.

The Emir of Birnin Gwari, Malam Zubairu Jibril Mai Gwari II also  believes the number of attacks and casualty rate are higher than the ones the public is aware of saying that over 30 communities in his emirate have come under attack in the past one year, while more than 64 have been killed within three months.

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