Suspected bandits over the weekend attacked travellers on the Birnin-Gwari – Kaduna highway killing, kidnapping and injuring travellers.
The attacks took place on Saturday evening and on Sunday evening.
Some of the kidnapped victims of the Saturday attack were said to be students who were on their way back to Birnin-Gwari from Kaduna after writing the university matriculation examination, UTME.
According to witnesses, one of the victims killed by the bandits was Ibrahim Idris, the driver of a former House of Representatives member, Adamu Shekarau.
Mr Idris boarded the same commercial vehicle as the kidnapped students, his relative said, adding that a fourth person, a little girl, was also kidnapped.
Mr Idris’s relative, Abubakar Garba, confirmed the incident to PREMIUM TIMES via telephone.
Mr Garba said Mr Idris was returning to Birnin-Gwari from Kaduna when the vehicle was attacked.
He said two of the kidnapped students were young men while the third was a young woman. They were all heading to Birnin-Gwari, he said.
He said the bandits returned to the highway on Sunday evening at about 4 p.m. and killed three other persons.
An unconfirmed number of people were also kidnapped in the second attack, he said.
When contacted, the police public relations officer in Kaduna State, Mohammed Jalige, only confirmed the Saturday attack. He, however, said the police is still trying to get the exact figures.
“Yes we got the information about the yesterday incident where a driver of a vehicle was shot to death, we are still waiting for the accurate figures of those kidnapped,” Mr Jalige told PREMIUM TIMES.
Birnin-Gwari has witnessed frequent attacks from bandits in recent years, despite the high security presence in the area. Bandits are regularly suspected in the attacks, but occasional skirmishes between warring villages have also been reported.
It is not clear whether the attackers came from within the state, or from neighbouring Katsina or Zamfara, where hundreds have been killed by rampaging armed bandits.
President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019 ordered a ban on mining activities in Zamfara after Nigerians held a protest in Abuja to condemn his seeming helplessness amidst a gloomy security situation that had prevailed for several years.
The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, stated then that the government gave the mining directive because it observed a relationship between banditry and illegal mining in the state.
Earlier in November 2017, the president reacted to a similar outrage about the killings by ordering the creation of a new army battalion for Zamfara.
In order to further secure the area, an army brigade was also moved from Sokoto State to Zamfara, while Sokoto received a new division.
But little appeared to have changed years on, even though the military reported frequent assaults on bandits’ hideouts.