The Kaduna State government says the persons intercepted by the military in Tafa village in Kagarko Local Government Area of the state were not bandits but harmless migrating herders.
According to the government, the herders were moving from Dobi in Gwagwalada (FCT) and Gawu-Babangida, Lambata (Niger State) to their original stations in Jos and Bauchi.
The state commissioner for Internal Security and Homeland Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, made the clarification in a statement on Thursday.
This followed anxiety in the state that the herders were a new group of bandits moving into Kaduna.
Mr Aruwan said security operatives moved to the area after receiving distress calls from citizens on the movement of armed bandits in the Lambata-Kabbo area of Tafa village.
“In response to the reports, troops and police operatives were mobilised to the area for confirmation and possible engagement.
“The troops trailed the group to an open field at Toba village, Tafa, Niger State. Upon confirmatory checks, it was discovered that they were herders in transit from Dobi in Gwagwalada (FCT) and Gawu-Babangida, Lambata (Niger State) to their original stations in Jos, Plateau State and Bauchi, Bauchi State.
“A head-count was conducted by the troops, which revealed 53 herders in the travelling party: nine adult males, seven young males, and 37 women and children.
“A thorough inspection showed that they had three motorcycles and no dangerous or incriminating materials were found in their possession.
“Receiving the report, Governor Nasir El-Rufai thanked the troops for their prompt response in conducting the checks. He wished the herders a safe passage to their destinations.
“The Kaduna State Government appreciates citizens’ responses and inquiries using the operations room numbers, 09034000060 and 08170189999, which are available 24 hours a day.”
Security operatives in the region had rescued 13 kidnapped persons from bandits on Wednesday after a gun duel with the kidnappers.
The 13 citizens, originally from Dutse, were working at a farm called Tanadi Farm in Bakin Kasuwa in the Gwagwada general area of Chikun LGA when they were attacked by bandits.
However, soldiers trailed the bandits to a forest near Bana village and rescued their captives after a gun duel with the bandits.
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