Niger State Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello, has raised the alarm that bandits and terrorists have now formed an alliance to wreak havoc on innocent people in communities in the state.
1This is coming as suspected bandits operating in the Eastern Senatorial District of Sokoto State have allegedly written a letter to a monarch in Burkusuma demanding ransom to secure the release of 20 persons kidnapped from two communities in Sabon Birni Local Government Area of the state.
Speaking in Minna at the weekend after commiserating with injured soldiers at the IBB Specialist hospital, Bello who just returned from an official trip to Turkey also confirmed the killing of two soldiers and the injuring of 12 others in the last attack by bandits on Kagara town, headquarters of the Rafi Local Government Area of the state.
After commiserating with injured soldiers at the IBB Specialist Hospital in Minna, the governor said more soldiers were injured in the Kagara incident.
While revealing that some of the injured soldiers had been moved to Kaduna for treatment, he added that the other 12 were hospitalised at the IBB Specialist Hospital in Minna.
“The bandits have an alliance with terrorists considering their increasing number and the way they plan and carry out their attacks,” Bello said.
Bello said the bandits however suffered losses during the operation but could not say how many of them were neutralised or injured.
He lamented that: “We have lost quite a number of them (security operatives) since the operation started and we don’t intend to lose more. What we are calling for is a safe environment and for everyone to support the ongoing operation by the security agents”.
He accused some communities of harbouring bandits because of fear that they could be attacked, warning that “very soon we will tag those communities as same elements as bandits. If you are harbouring any bandits and you know, you are one even if you don’t carry a gun because you are risking the lives of our security agents”.
In a related development, suspected bandits operating in the Eastern Senatorial District of Sokoto State have allegedly written a letter to a monarch in Burkusuma demanding ransom to secure the release of 20 persons kidnapped from two communities in Sabon Birni Local Government Area of the state.
The letter was allegedly written in the Hausa language by one of the victims kidnapped by the bandits and addressed to Sarkin Rafin Burkusuma, the district head of the area.
The bandits informed the monarch that the victims kidnapped from Gatawa and Burkusuma are all in good health.
They thereafter demanded the sum of N20 million to be paid for the release of their victims.
The kidnapped victims, whose names were all written in the letter, consist of nine males, eight females and two children.
One of the victims was released to deliver the letter to Gatawa through the Sarkin Rakin Burkusuma.
Channels TV reported that the bandits have resorted to sending letters to families of kidnapped victims since the shutdown of telecommunication services in the area.
An effort by the TV station to reach the Sokoto State Police Command for confirmation was unsuccessful as the mobile line of the Police Public Relations Officer, Sanusi Abubakar, could not be reached at the time of filing this report.
In another development, the Zamfara State Police Command has said it has arrested one of the notorious commanders of bandits, Bello Ruga.
The Commissioner for Police in Zamfara, Ayuba Elkana, who disclosed this to reporters, said Bello, also known as Bello Dan Malankara, was apprehended at a bandits’ camp in Gummi Local Government Area of the state.
“On October 1, 2021, police tactical operatives on anti-banditry operations around Gummi axis acted on intelligence report and stormed Gidan Bita, Malankare, and Kagara forest in search of one notorious bandit known as Bello Rugga,” he said during a briefing on Friday at the Police Headquarters in Gusau.
“The bandit who happens to be one of the Turji’s commanders was the one in charge of Gummi, Gidan Bita, Malankare, and Kagara forest in Gummi LGA.
“He has been commanding a series of attacks and kidnaps in Gummi that led to the unwarranted killing of innocent people, and the kidnapping of many persons where ransoms were paid. The suspect who has many bandits under him also is in possession of AK-47 rifles.”
Meanwhile, Elkana announced that all vehicles with unauthorised tinted glass should be immediately removed.
He also directed the police to arrest and prosecute owners of vehicles without plate numbers on all roads in the state.
Onuminya Innocent in Sokoto and Laleye Dipo in Minna