ZAMFARA State has suffered an accelerated increase in the number of attacks over the last week with at least 10 villages across Zurmi Local Government Area being ransacked by heavily-armed gunmen.
Like many other parts of northern Nigeria, Zamfara State has recently been ravaged by armed hoodlums who have taken it upon themselves to attack rural settlements. With almost no private sector investment, Zamfara is more or less wholly dependent on the state government for its survival and with very few jobs being created, crime has boomed.
With as many as 6m illegal firearms now available in Nigeria, the hapless youth of Zamfara State have begun flocking into bandit gangs where they carry out kidnapping, murder, rape, robbery and other violent crimes. Al attempts by the Zamfara State government to reach an accommodation with them has so far failed.
Over the last week, the villages of Yanbuki, Bindin, Kadamutsa, Gidan Zago, Marmaro, Dada, Maduba, Kacha, Huhu, Dangasamu and Hushin Dusti have all been attacked. Villagers have been forced to flee their homes due to fear of constant attacks, with many of them forced to run to places like Kaura Namoda, Zurmi and Gusau the state capital.
One eyewitness said: “More than 50 people have been abducted by the bandits since last Sunday and the bandits have threatened to either kill or kidnap anyone found in these villages. In spite of the security measures implemented by the state government, the bandits continue to move around freely within these villages threatening people and forcing them to run helter-skelter.”
Mohammed Shehu, a spokesman for the Zamfara Police Command, confirmed the incident, saying that armed policemen have been deployed by the police commissioner to continue with the patrol and surveillance of the affected areas. He did not say if any arrests have been made so far, however.