Armed Bandits killed at least 360 persons in the first quarter of 2022 (January – March) in Kaduna State, a security report by the state government has revealed.
According to the 52-page quarterly report presented to the state governor, Nasir El-Rufai, by the Commisioner for internal security, Samjuel Aruwan, on Thursday, the figure also includes those killed in communal clashes.
The latest figure by the state government comes as attacks in Kaduna and other parts of the North-west heightened in the past few months.
In 2021, bandits killed 1,192 people in the state and kidnapped 3,348 others, according to SBM Intelligence.
Deaths from insecurity in the state in 2020 were three times higher than those recorded in the North-east states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa, which are battling terrorism.
The gunmen attacked public and private institutions, schools, and communities as they intensified their campaigns in the state.
In August 2021, terrorists attacked the country’s foremost military institution – the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) – in Kaduna town. Five months earlier, the gunmen had attacked the Kaduna Airport’s FAAN Quarters.
According to the report, 1,389 persons were kidnapped during the period under review within the three senatorial zones of the states.
Among the local government areas worst hit were Birnin Gwari, where 169 persons were kidnapped, Giwa 158, Igabi 263, Chikun 287 and Kajuru 203.
It also said no fewer than 249 people were kidnapped due to banditry and other violent attacks in the Kaduna South Senatorial District alone within the same period.
Other incidents are the rape of 10 women, including six minors, 258 injured due to banditry and communal clashes while 3,251 animals rustled during the period. Of the 3,251 animals, 3,137 were stolen from Kaduna Central, accounting for 97 per cent of the total.
According to the report, 41 bandits were neutralised by the ground force while more than 60 were neutralised through various air strikes carried out at identified bandit camps within the state.
“Arms intercepted included 18 AK47 rifles, 7 sub-machine guns, 5 pump action rifles and ammunition which includes 22 AK47 magazines, 254 pump action cartridges, and 1,195 rounds of live ammunition,’’ the report said.
Mr Aruwan said that bandits and other criminals carried out their attacks under the influence of various substances, adding that the purchase of drugs by bandits constitutes a major component of their expenditure.
Insecurity in Kaduna reached a milestone on May 28 after a train heading for the northern city from Nigeria’s capital, Abuja was ambushed by suspected bandits, who bombed its tracks.
At least eight people were killed, and 168 were kidnapped and are still missing from the train carrying 970 passengers.
This unprecedented attack, attributed to the failure of authorities to act on intelligence reports, happened only a couple of days after PREMIUM TIMES reported that unidentified gunmen had stormed the Kaduna airport, killing an official on the runway.
Soldiers reportedly repelled the attack, and the airport was shut down.
Within 24 hours, another assault was carried out on the same stretch of tracks using improvised explosive devices, forcing the train travelling from Kaduna to Abuja to stop.
Although the rail line between the cities was first hit in October 2021 when bandits destroyed a portion of the track with explosives, the recent attacks was more severe.
It forced the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) to announce, the next day, the suspension of operations on the route, until further notice.
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