Kaduna attacks: What we know so far

Kaduna attacks: What we know so far

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For about eight months, Kaduna State enjoyed relative peace, except for some isolated cases of kidnapping. But within four weeks, between February 27 and March 18, the narrative changed. Northern Bureau Chief, MUHAMMAD SABIU, reports that in this period, there have been a series of coordinated attacks in the state, resulting in the kidnapping of over 300 people, while hundreds of citizens have been displaced in the affected communities.

FOR several months, Kaduna State, under the leadership of Governor Uba Sani, enjoyed relative peace until February 17, when the peace was breached. On this day, bandits stormed two local government areas of the state and killed nine persons, abducting 35 people in the process. The affected LGAs were Kauru and Igabi.

It was gathered that the incident occurred in Kauru LGA when the hoodlums attacked Kwassam, Kurera and Kan Makama commu- nities.

In the same vein, the bandits attacked Kerawa and Sabon Birni communities in Igabi LGA.

According to sources, the bandits invaded Kauru communities around 10 pm and kid- napped a retired Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) director, Zakariya Markus, and other members of his family. While in Igabi LGA, the hoodlums attacked the affected communities in the afternoon, where they kidnapped scores of people.

February 24

Just as the dust was yet to settle, bandits again struck at Gidan Busa village in Doka ward of Kachia Local Government Area of the state, killing two villagers, while 16 vil- lagers were abducted during the attack.

A resident, Musa Ibrahim, had said in an interview that the bandits struck around 11.30 pm. He said five people had sustained serious injuries and were receiving treatment in a medical facility.

The onslaught was coming when a kingpin bandit, Bodori Isyaku, who masterminded high-profile kidnapped cases across the state was eliminated during a gun duel with the military some days ago.

According to him, no fewer than eight people were abducted at the residence of one Alhaji Hassan, where two people were killed.

“A boy and a lady were killed while five others sustained gunshot wounds when the hoodlums invaded the residence.
“Yesterday night (Friday), bandits came to Gidan Busa and abducted 16 residents of the area, killing two, while five sustained gunshot injuries and are currently receiving treatment in the hospital.

“In the residence of one Alhaji Hassan, the bandits abducted eight persons, including his wife and children and killed one of his boys and a female. The incident occurred at about 11.30. Those who sustained gunshot wounds are receiving treatment in the hospital.”

March 7

It was the abduction of over 280 children at Kuriga in Chikun Local Government Area that rattled the government, security agencies and the public most.

Speaking to the press on how the whole thing started, a school teacher at Government Secondary School Kuriga, Sani Abdullahi, said the bandits who invaded the school kidnapped about 287 pupils and teachers.

He made this known when Governor Sani led other senior government officials and security top brass to the village.
He told the visitors, “I resumed school to- day at exactly 7:47 am. I entered the acting principal’s office and signed.
Suddenly, the acting principal asked me to look at my back, and when I turned, we discovered that bandits had surrounded the school premises.

“We became confused; we didn’t know where to go. Then, the bandits asked us to enter the bush, so we obeyed them be- cause they were many, and the pupils, who were about 700, were following us. So, when we entered the bush, I was lucky to escape alongside many other people.

“So, I returned to the village and reported what happened to the community. Immediately, our vigilantes and personnel of KADVS followed the bandits, but the vigilantes did not succeed. In fact, the bandits killed one of the vigilantes. We just buried him a short while ago.

“It was when we came back from that pursuit that we briefed the village head, and we started making efforts to know the actual number of pupils and teachers taken away by the bandits.

“At GSS Kuriga, 187 students are presently missing. In the primary school, 125 pupils were initially missing, but, 25 of them escaped and retired home,” he narrated.

March 16

On March 16, bandits, in the early hours of Saturday, launched a fresh attack on the Dogonnoma community and abducted 15 women and one man in the Kajuru Local Government Area of Kaduna State.

The attack came barely three days after one person was killed and eight women were kidnapped in the Banono Angwaku community of the same local government.

A resident of the area, Mr Istifanus Ma’aji, said 15 women and a man were kidnapped. According to him, the attackers invaded the village at 5.30 am on that day in large numbers, shooting indiscriminately.

March 18

Bandits stormed the Kajuru station area community of Kajuru ward of Kajuru Local Government Area of Kaduna and kidnapped no fewer than 87 people.

The recent onslaught came less than 48 hours after a similar attack occurred at Dogon-Noma community within the same local government area. It was gathered that the bandits had stormed the area on Sunday night around 10 pm.

A resident of the area, Aminu Kajuru who holds a traditional title in the emirate, lamented that the area is now vulnerable to attacks. Since last year when bandits kidnapped the Emir of Kajuru, Alhassan Adamu, and 12 other members of his family, peace has eluded the community.

“For months, our monarch was in the hands of the bandits before he was even- tually released and since then, the situation has degenerated

“From our estimation, over 100 people had been kidnapped as of today (Monday) when the bandits stormed our area.
Also speaking, a youth leader, Harisu Dari, stated that the terrorists also looted shops, stole food items and other valuables and disappeared into thin air with dozens of people living in the community.

He said the hoodlums had stormed the area in a commando style and asked them to come out from their houses.

Why are these attacks taking place?

A security expert, Zakari Yau, attributed the constant attacks in these communities to the thick forest adorning them. He said the forest provided shelter and a livelihood to these criminals. According to him, the government urgently needs to either clear these forests or turn them into an agricultural enterprise.

Also, he said the use of drones and trackers to find the location of the bandits is necessary if we want to win this war.

“Today, technology is very important for the military to execute the war. Unfortunately, all these are missing in our arsenal.”

He also said both the government and security agencies should be transparent and accountable, saying, the citizens must be carried along.

Finally, the citizens too must be patriotic enough to share intelligence reports with the security agencies or government and not to become informants to these bandits.

CDS assurances

During a meeting with the affected communities in Kaduna, Chief of Defense Staff (CDS) General Christopher Musa assured that efforts were underway to rescue the abducted individuals, including students and recent victims from Kajuru.

He reiterated the commitment of the military and other security agencies to tirelessly work towards the release of hostages and the apprehension of those responsible for the kidnappings and attacks in Kaduna and other states within the North-West zone.

“We are here to show solidarity to this community so that you will know that whatever you are going through, we are also going through it.

“We assure you that God Almighty is on our side, and whatever we are going through is just temporary. And the problem is a result of people who don’t want development for this country, so that development would take place.

“We are working tirelessly to make sure that all those kidnapped will be safeguarded and brought out as quickly as possible,” he said

Governor Sani summons emergency meeting

Piqued by incessant security breaches in seven local government areas of Kaduna state, Governor Sani summoned an emer- gency meeting of stakeholders in the trou- bled local government areas of the state.

The seven LGAs are Kajuru, Birnin-Gwari, Kachia, Kagarko, Igabi, Chikun, Giwa. It was gathered that the stakeholders meeting was summoned by the governor given the series of attacks and kidnappings in these local government areas within the last four weeks.

Findings conducted by the Nigerian Tribune revealed that an estimated 450 people have been kidnapped within the period. But the most prominent was the kidnapping of at least, 287 school children at Kuriga, Chikun LGA, while 87 were kidnapped at Kajuru LGA in recent times.

Sighted at the strategic meeting held at the Sir Kashim Ibrahim Government House, Kaduna, Wednesday were heads of security agencies, community leaders, traditional institutions, the seven chairmen of LGAs as well as state assembly members in the affected communities.

In his opening remarks, the Governor Sani reassured the affected parents of the Kuriga community that their children would soon return home safely.

He said relevant security agencies as well as President Bola Tinubu were on top of the situation to ensure the safe return of the 287 abductees who had spent two weeks in the hands of their captives.

The governor said he summoned the stakeholders because of the need for the communities to collaborate with security agencies on intelligence sharing in tackling insecurity in the seven affected LGAs.

Governor Sani, therefore, charged traditional rulers to ensure they report strange movements and incidents of attacks by terrorists without delay to enable security operatives to move in to save the situation whenever it happens.

“As I said, we are making a lot of progress and we are also working to ensure that our children return home safely.
“Only yesterday (Tuesday), I had further interactive sessions with the communities that were affected, particularly, the Kuriga community.

“I do not doubt in my mind that the efforts we are making with relevant security agencies will yield results and Mr President has been doing everything possible to ensure that our children return home safely.

“I can say it here that Mr President is determined. I have had a series of discussions with him, the National Security Adviser and service chiefs.

“A lot of progress has been made so far. We will not disclose them here, but we are on top of the matter, and by the grace of God, our children will return home safely.”

“We are here this afternoon to have a very important meeting, which should be more of an interactive meeting between the Kaduna State Government and the heads of security agencies in Kaduna, as well as members of the state assembly from the seven local government areas that were affected by an unfortunate incident of insecurity in the last few weeks. With us are also our highly respected traditional rulers from the seven local government areas.”

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