Armed bandits are reportedly continuing attacks on communities in Zurmi and Shinkafi Local Government Areas of Zamfara State, killing residents and burning houses.
This development comes despite an ongoing military offensive against the bandits in the troubled North-west state.
The bandits recently razed down the family house of the speaker of the state House of Assembly, Nasiru Magarya, at Magarya community in Zurmi local government area, an official said.
Fleeing residents told PREMIUM TIMES that at least seven people were killed in Shinkafi council area in the last seven days by the bandits
Among the dead is a former councillor for Jangeru ward in Shinkafi, Abubakar Mai-sallah, who was killed last week at his residence in Jangeru town.
On Tuesday at about 8 a.m., they blocked the Shinkafi-Gusau highway and killed Sunusi Bala, a businessman traveling to Gusau, his relative, Hamdan Alhazai, told PREMIUM TIMES.
The relative said Mr Bala was driving his vehicle when he was gunned down around Moriki town, 20 kilometres from Shinkafi.
Mr Alhazai said the bandits also attacked Tungar Kado and Katuru communities, killing five persons.
The bandits also on Tuesday burnt down a vehicle taking grains from Shinkafi to Gusau. The vehicle had run into a blockade by the bandits on the highway, but many of its passengers escaped with gunshot injuries, sources said.
Residents said while the military offensive against the armed bandits may be successful in other areas, the impact has not been felt in the Zurmi and Shinkafi axis.
Zurmi and Shinkafi council areas and Dansadausu district in Maru LGA are among the worst hit by banditry in Zamfara.
Burning of speaker’s residence, others in Zurmi
The chairperson, Committee on Security and Prosecution of Bandits in Zamfara, Abdullahi Shinkafi, confirmed that bandits set ablaze the speaker’s residence in Magarya town.
Mr Shinkafi said many other residents were also affected as the bandits burnt down houses in Zurmi.
Mr Shinkafi, who said he had visited the affected communities to assess the security situation, said the government also wanted to provide support for victims and deploy more security operatives to protect the people, according to a report by Tribune newspaper.
Meanwhile, Governor Bello Matawalle told BBC Hausa Service that at least 100 ‘bandits’ informants’ were arrested following the network ban and the military offensive in the state.
Mr Matatwalle said following the security operations, residents were again conducting their daily businesses without fear of being kidnapped.
The governor said the shutdown of telecommunications services across the state has drastically reduced kidnap incidents as most of the bandits relied on informants.
Mr Matawalle also said many armed bandits had also been killed in the forests. He, however, said the security forces are yet to clear many bandits enclaves in the state.
The governor added that more security forces were being deployed to the state to comb the forests.
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