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Zamfara state in the last seven days is reeling helplessly, practically soaked in its own blood. Over 100 were reportedly slaughtered with as much number abducted. Some 20 students in a Madarasa are among the abducted.
The terrorists, on 27 February, 2019, invaded Kawaye village in Bagega, Anka Local government area. Witnesses report that the gunmen claimed that they came on vengeance over the killing of their members by vigilantes. They razed down houses, vehicles and everything in their way.
Kawaye village in #Bagega alone, in the course of the 27 February invasion, 13 were killed and 42 persons abducted. It was designed to be a strong message to other communities that may stand on its way.
On the following day in Gwashi, over 30 persons were ambushed and taken away as captives they made their way from the day's market. They lost their earnings, but their families are desperately looking for resources to meet up required ransom payments within stipulated deadline.
Residents in the state who are familiar with the scale of ransom demands say that each of the captives will attract no less than 1 million Naira. Some with links to politically exposed individuals or families attract between 10 million to 20 million Naira.
Only the captives considered bare and under the poverty line are usually let off with #500,000 token. A father (names withheld) said, “I couldn’t mourn my son after he was killed bcz his killers called immediately to demand ransom for my other surviving son in captivity.”
The old man said he has never seen a million in cash in his entire life, but forced to raise 2M before his son was freed. “I will spend the rest of my life paying debts, and if I'm ever kidnapped no one shld pay any ransom, I would rather die than allow my family go through this.
In Gidan Kaso, Birnin - Magaji LGA, the abductions and killings are unabating. The month of March began with the slaughter of nearly 40 persons in Garin Kwari, Shinkafi LGA. Some of the attacks are only known several days later.
Earlier today, no less than 40 persons were killed by terrorists in Kwaren in Shinkafi. The entire village was still mourning the death of over 30 persons, 3 days ago. The attacks in Zamfara are too many, too frequent for any reporter to keep pace with.
The people in Zamfara seem to have given up all hope of seeing any end to the bloodletting in the state. The villagers have become vulnerable to their political leaders as they are to the terrorists that kill, maim and abduct them, at will.
Many of the victims that voted in the last elections are too poor and distressed to even ask those they voted for questions, many just want handouts to survive the day. Several irresponsible politicians took advantage of this desperate situation.
The security situatn in #Zamfara also delayed INEC officials and materials from reaching several destinatns and voting ended early enough for the officials to return to the LG headquarters and the state capital, many could not vote, those that voted did not witness the count.
“We have to return to safety to count the votes,” said an INEC Ad hoc staff in Gusau. These obvious gaps apparently created room for electoral malpractices to be carried out on a massive scale across #Zamfara, according to many accounts.
ZAMFARA STATE IN THE LAST SEVEN DAYS continued with the callous watering of the patched earth in the rural and urban communities with the blood of innocents slain in cold blood. Over 70 persons reportedly killed within the days under review. #zamfara
It is obvious that neither the Armed Forces nor state officials considers the steady mayhem anything to worry about. No massive military deployment, no national mourning, no flags flown at half mask, no official acknowledgment of the tragedy in Zamfara state.
On Friday, armed bandits invaded a Jumma’a Mosque at Dumama village in Zurmi LG of the state. The killers arrived on motorbikes during the Khutbah (sermon) and opened fire at the worshippers. Over 20 people died and several others sustained serious injuries.
A detachment of the military and mopol in the state engaged and killed dozens of bandits. Sources state that the number of armed groups may be as many as thousands operating in small fiefdoms across Katsina, Zamfara, Sokoto and Niger states, and regularly cross to Niger Republic.
There were cases of abductions across #Zamfara in the course of the week even on election day. One of my most active reporters couldn’t send me updates because his brother was shot. Doctors are battling to save his life at the intensive care unit in Federal Medical Centre, Gusau.
Sources within Ansaru, one of the groups suspected to be involved in the murderous campaign, deny any involvement in the indiscriminate killings going on in the state. Elements within the sect however admits that they carry out targeted attacks and abductions.
The villagers firmly countered this claims, insisting that there is hardly any difference in the operations of the bandits and Ansaru "if at all they exists in Zamfara." Investigations points to a growing presence of terrorists working along side bandits and cattle rustlers.
Investigations by this reporter are yielding glimpses on the personality of one of the leaders of the armed groups. He operates around Shinkafi and is nicknamed Mairakumi by villagers because he appears on camel backs while his fighters come in horses and motorbikes.
Mairakumi, whose real name is Haliru is believed to be a Buzu, and looks like a Toureq from Niger Republic, light skin and about 7th ft tall. Mairakumi, eerily premeditated in his bloody campaigns across #Zamfara, #Sokoto and #Katsina states
For instance, in one occasion, after attacking Kawaye village and killing over 40 persons, he called for prayers after which he took away the district head, Alhaji Husseni Sarki Gabas and his wife. Sources claim Mairakumi is linked to Ansaru and reportedly converting bandits.
Mairakumi's group is believed to have abducted and holding over 100 captives and he has so far released 30 with ransoms ranging from N500,000 to over N10 Million. The terrorists claimed they attacked Kawaye bcz the villagers were mostly vigilantes and aid security agencies.
Investigations revealed that other bandits are increasingly joining the ranks of Mairakumi, but the likes of Dogo, a ruthless bandit may not have join Mairakumi yet, but the two outlaws and their fighters don’t clash. This is the time to act to #EndTheKillingsInZamfara.
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