The Sokoto State Commissioner for Youths and Sports Development, Bashir Gorau, has called on federal and state governments to empower local vigilantes as part of efforts to tackle banditry.
Mr Gorau made the call on Saturday when he visited Birjingo to sympathise with the residents over recent attacks on communities in the Goronyo Local Government Area of the state.
He urged the government to “empower local vigilantes with adequate equipment to help tackle the insecurity since the number of the security personnel nationwide is not enough to tackle the banditry in the country.”
Attacks on Birjingo
Residents of communities in Goronyo local government area, who spoke to PREMIUM TIMES on the phone said a large group of bandits had raided Birjingo twice.
A resident, Muhammad Sanusi, said “the bandits entered the community on Friday and they collected phones and money. They conducted house to house search for phones and other valuables.”
Mr Sanusi said seven people were confirmed dead and many others wounded in the Saturday attack.
Another resident, who does not want his name mentioned for his safety, said the bandits operated for four hours, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
“After the attack, eight people were found to have been killed while 10 housewives were abducted. They have not reached out to the families for ransom yet,” the resident said.
He said an unknown number of cattle was also rustled by the bandits, who, he said, were more than 200 and rode into the village on over 100 motorcycles.
Other villages that suffered attacks last week were Tulutu and Gidan Tudu, both in Goronyo local government area.
“As I speak to you, Birjingo has been deserted by residents. People have left for safety,” Mr Sanusi said.
PREMIUM TIMES learnt that those who suffered injuries were taken to the General Hospital in Goronyo for medical care.
The police spokesperson in the state, Sanusi Abubakar, confirmed the attacks but refused to give details, saying the command was waiting for brief from their divisional officer of the area.
Sokoto East under attacks
Sokoto East, which comprises eight local government areas, has witnessed cases of banditry, kidnapping and cattle rustling, forcing some villagers to cross the border to Niger Republic and others to move to the headquarters of the local government areas.
The local government areas in the zone include: Gada, Goronyo, Gwadabawa, Isa, Sabon Birni, Rabah, Wurno and Illela.
Aliyu Dangaladima, a youths leader in Sabon Birni, said the zone has become a kidnappers’ den.
“Here, kidnappers strike at will and are unchallenged. From Raba up to Sabon Birni and the communities leading to Niger Republic, no one is safe.”
Another local from Raba, Yusuf Gidan Dare, told P that bandits attacked four communities in the area last week in broad daylight.
“It is becoming alarming. Before, they (the bandits) were afraid of attacking villages in the daytime, but they attacked four communities on Tuesday around 11 a.m. in the morning.
“Three people were killed in Tambulla while five were killed in Sabaru. In Rakaka and Tursa, they rustled several cattles and wounded innocent people.”
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