Armed persons have abducted many people in two days of attacks on communities in Sabon Birni Local Government Area of Sokoto state on Friday and Saturday.
Two people were also killed in one of the attacks.
The Friday attack, PREMIUM TIMES gathered, occurred before the arrival of a presidential delegation led by the National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, in the area while the Saturday attack occurred after the delegation had left.
The delegation had told Governor Aminu Tambuwal that the federal government would flush out banditry kingpins in Sokoto and other states. Similar promises by President Muhammadu Buhari and other officials of his administration are, however, yet to materialise.
Chief Imam abducted
Basharu Guyawa, coordinator of Rundunar Adalci, who is also a native of the area, confirmed to PREMIUM TIMES that the Chief Imam of the Izala (Sunni) mosque in Gatawa, Aminu Garba, was abducted in the Friday attack.
“He was not even allowed to lead the prayers before they took him away. That was what happened on Friday and up to now that I am telling this, his family or anybody has not heard from the bandits. So, we are all waiting for them to contact the family,” Mr Guyawa, a human rights activist, said.
The bandits also returned to Gatawa Saturday morning and abducted three more residents but later released one.
“The one they released, Musan Barau, was sent with a phone number and asked to give it to the abducted residents’ families to gather ransom. They even told him where they want the family to meet when they finally gather the ransom money,” Mr Guyawa added.
Two of the people killed Saturday afternoon were residents of Modachi.
A resident, Danmalam Modachi, said two more people were on admission at a general hospital.
“I hid in our local silos. Wallahi, I could hear the sounds of guns as they went from house to house searching for what to take and some of the people hiding. But as I was hiding inside a silos, none of them thought of checking there.
“But we thank God for the Yan Sakai (volunteers) in our town. We help them with working tools and give them financial support and they have been of immense help to us.
“Even today (Saturday) they were the ones who saved us because they confronted the bandits and chased them away. Two of our people have been killed while others have been taken to the General Hospital,” he said.
Mr Modachi, however, said he did not know how many people of the town were abducted.
On his part, Mr Guyawa also said he was not certain of how many people were abducted.
“These people (bandits) also attacked motorists on Sabon Birni to Gatawa and abducted about seven people. Other villages close to Modachi like Bargaja, Dan Zanke, Lugu and Gazau all witnessed series of attacks in the last two days, so we cannot say this is the actual number of people abducted,” Mr Guyawa said.
Police spokesperson in Sokoto, Sanusi Abubakar, promised to revert back to our reporter when asked for police comment, but he did not do so.
The attacks in Sokoto and other states in Northwest Nigeria have continued despite the efforts of security agencies. Hundreds of people have been killed or injured this year by the bandits, who have been declared terrorists by the Nigerian government.
WATCH: Governor Yahaya Bello's Roadmap to Hope 2023