ICYMI

April 3, 2024

Anguish as bandits, terrorists, herders kidnap 30 children, others in Katsina, Zamfara, Delta

Residents flee as bandits kill 30 security volunteers in Niger

File image of bandits

By Clifford Ndujihe, Ibrahim Ogalla, Akpokona Omafuaire, Femi Bolaji

Bandits, terrorists and herdsmen yesterday, wreaked havoc in some states of the country, kidnapping children and people at will.

In March 2024 alone, no fewer than 1087 Nigerians, including children, had been kidnapped in the country, according to media reports. The figure may be higher as many incidents are not reported or under-reported.

In the early hours of Monday, no fewer than 30 children were kidnapped by suspected bandits at Kasai village in Batsari Local Government Area of Katsina State.

This was as bandits disrupted prayers in a mosque and kidnapped worshippers in Zamfara State. In another part of the state, bandits killed a man, abducted his wife and a neighbour.

Like they did on the campus of University of Calabar, UNICAL, where they kidnapped three students two days ago, gunmen abducted two university students in Taraba State, yesterday.

Also, herdsmen kidnapped two persons and a baby in Delta State and demanded N15 million ransom.

How 30 children were abducted in Katsina, rescued.

Batsari is one of several security frontline LGAs in Katsina State where activities of bandits, and other criminal elements have been on the increase almost on a daily basis.

A resident of the area said the fresh attack on the children took place in the early hours of Monday, disclosing that the victims were intercepted and kidnapped by the hoodlums behind the village area while in search of firewood for cooking.

“The attack occurred yesterday (Monday) in the morning hours. It all began when the children, numbering up to 30, went behind Kasai village to secure firewood which, their parents will use to cook food for them.

“Unfortunately, some suspected bandits intercepted them and took them to an unknown destination. We do hope and pray that peace and security will be restored in our state,” he said.

However, the state command of the police last night confirmed the rescue of the children, mainly girls.

A statement by Abubakar Aliyu, spokesman of the command, read:  “On April 1, 2024, at about 10:30 a.m., about 28 girls, who went to the outskirts of Kasai village to fetch firewood, were abducted.

“Upon receipt of the report, the Commissioner of Police, Mr Aliyu Abubakar Musa, swiftly deployed operatives to the scene to rescue the girls unhurt.

“Thanks to the unwavering efforts and increased pressure exerted by the command, the victims have regained freedom and are safe and sound.”

Bandits kill man, abduct wife, neighbour in Zamfara

In Zamfara, the state police command said bandits attacked and killed a man, identified as Ashiru Nagoma, and abducted his wife and a neighbour in Buluku, on the outskirt of Gusau LGA.

The command spokesperson, ASP Yazid Abubakar, confirmed the the crime,yesterday.

This was coming on the heels of the post on X (formerly Twitter) made by a Maiduguri-based security expert, Zagazola Makama, who raised an alarm that bandits sneaked into Gusau town to abduct several worshippers in a mosque while observing midnight prayers around 2 am.

“Sad. In the early morning of Tuesday (yesterday) at about 0200hr, bandits sneaked into Gusau town and abducted several worshippers in a Mosque while they were observing tahajjud (midnight) prayers,” he wrote.

Tahajjud is special prayer being observed by Muslims in every last 10 days of the Holy month of Ramadan.

However, speaking on the incident, Abubakar stressed that the late Nagoma had resisted an attack by the gunmen who, in turn killed him and abducted his wife and a neighbour.

“The bandits did not attack the mosque. They had a target, and it was the man that was attacked. His wife and neighbour were abducted.

“Our rescue team is on top of the situation and is making frantic efforts to make sure the perpetrators are brought to book and the abducted victims rescued. An investigation is also ongoing,” he maintained.

Last Thursday, bandits abducted scores of worshippers in one of the mosques in Tsafe town, the headquarters of Tsafe LGA of Zamfara State.

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An indigene of the area, simply identified as Garba, said the bandits invaded the mosque around 5 a.m. when the people were about to start the morning prayers.

Garba said: “We were about to start the morning prayer when suddenly they (bandits) entered the mosque and directed everybody to go out and follow them.

”Everybody scampered for safety but the bandits blocked everywhere and warned us that they would kill anybody who tried to run away.”

Zamfara govt. restricts movement along Katsina, Sokoto borders.

Meanwhile, the Zamfara State Government has ordered immediate restriction of movement along the state’s borders with Katsina and Sokoto states from 7:00p.m to 6:00 a.m.

The Commissioner for Information and Culture, Manir Haidara, disclosed this to newsmen in Gusau, yesterday.

Haidara noted that the directive was part of the decision of the state security council meeting.

“This is to tackle the incessant kidnapping of travellers along  the Sokoto-Gusau-Funtua highway. This is part of the state government’s measures to reduce and address kidnapping activities by bandits, especially along highways in the state,” he said.

According to the commissioner, all motorists and travellers are directed to abide by government order.

He added:  “Security agencies are directed to monitor the two borders and ensure full compliance.”

Gunmen kidnap two varsity students in Taraba.

In Taraba, confusion enveloped Wukari town and environs yesterday after gunmen struck and kidnapped two students of Federal University, Wukari.

It was gathered that the unfortunate incident happened opposite the school gate, where chains of stores service the school community and environs.

The victims, one male and one female, were reportedly whisked away from a restaurant.

Confirming the incident, the chief security officer of the institution, Sule Gani, said those abducted were spillover students who were preparing to retake some of their exams.

He also said security operatives had launched a search and rescue operation to ensure the students regained their freedom.

Herdsmen kidnap two, a baby in Delta, demand N15m ransom

In Delta, gunmen, on Sunday, kidnapped two persons and a baby, as two others escaped with injuries, while laying siege to Oviri-Ogor and Okapvuerhe Olomu road, demanding N15 million ransom, according to Olorogun Ojabecho Jite Lucky, the Olomu Vigilante chairman, and his team who rescued the two persons

In a phone chat with Vanguard, he said: “On Sunday night, the son of Agbazor community Otota (Famous Ahwotu) called me at about 2a.m that he got a distress call from the father that they escaped kidnapping. I asked him where his father was, he said he was in Oviri-Ogor bush.

“I quickly mobilized my men and rushed there.  Luckily for us, we saw him and the Vice President General of Agbazor (Festus Eghaghara) bleeding seriously from injuries.

“They were returning from Oviri-Ogor where they had gone to pay a visit to one Mr. Shina, an Urhobo musician who played for them the previous week, who was also attacked on that road while returning home.

“They narrated that they ran into the ambush on a sharp bend on the road where the herdsmen had blocked the road with woods. They said as they fell, the herdsmen pounced on them, cutting them and shooting sporadically.

”The herdsmen had kidnapped a man and a lady with a little baby before and left in a Keke (tricycle). As they were taking them into the bush, they both struggled and escaped but the herdsmen made away with the woman and the baby. So I called the police at Otu-Jeremi and took them there.

“Swiftly, the police got into action and secured a report for the victims to be taken to Jeremi General Hospital where they were treated.

“I later found that the kidnapped man was from Okpavuerhe community, his name is Urhie Ayefere.  Last week, the herdsmen had also attacked a hunter, John Oboro, from the same community and collected his gun and phone.

”It was this man’s phone they used to call the victim’s family and demanded N15 million ransom on Monday. I don’t know the identity of the woman till now.

“The same herdsmen had kidnapped a pastor and a woman with a baby two weeks ago on the same road and collected a huge ransom. Some days ago, while on patrol, we had an encounter with some herdsmen too between Akperhe and Ovwodokpkpor.

“Immediately we were approaching, they released their cows into the road to block us. So we fired a warning shot and they ran into the bush, they left one sack which contained tools for  cutting finger nails.

“We gathered that they are using these guys cutting nails to gather information for their nefarious activities. The challenge we have is lack of operational vehicles and materials to work. We need serious support as insecurity in Olomu area has worsened.”