The spectre of bloodletting and abduction by non-state armed groups is still having a strong hold even as the security agencies are battling to contain the horrific situation in Nigeria. Already, heavily armed bandits invaded Ruwan Doruwa district in Maru Local Government Area of Zamfara State, killing four persons and abducting several others.
Local sources at Ruwan Doruwa community say the bandits came to the town in the early hours of Friday and started shooting sporadically, forcing many residents to flee for their safety. The invaders allegedly killed four persons and embarked on house-to-house search for abduction.
Channels Television reported that the funeral prayers of those killed have been conducted.
Though the police authorities are yet to react to the attack. Interestingly, police tactical operatives, in collaboration with the other security agencies, have repelled a large number of other bandits who invaded Shinkafi town in their hundreds with intent to attack the innocent people of the area.
According to a statement by the state command’s spokesman, Mohammed Shehu, a Superintendent of Police, the bandits, said to be from the camp of a notorious bandits kingpin, ‘TURJI’, were heavily engaged in a gun duel by the joint security forces stationed in Shinkafi.
At the end of the gun battle that lasted for hours, one of the bandits was fatally injured, while others escaped with possible bullet wounds.
Commissioner of Police, Ayuba Elkanah, has directed the immediate deployment of the more security operatives to complement the existing security arrangements, to curtail any further attack by the bandits.
He has also commended the resilience of the operatives and charged them to sustain the tempo so that the state can be adequately protected.
However, the attack on Ruwan Doruwa is one of the latest acts of violence by armed bandits operating in the North-West, the home political bloc of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The North-West and Central states have for years been troubled by tit-for-tat attacks and community raids between nomadic herders and local farmers who clash over water and land.
Violence has been escalating sharply with the emergence of large criminal gangs who steal cattle, raid and loot villages and kidnap for ransom.
President Buhari, a retired army Major General and former military ruler whose draconian regime was short-circuited by the General Ibrahim Babangida palace coup, was first elected in 2015, is under intense pressure over worsening insecurity.
While the armed forces have launched military raids and air strikes on bandit camps, but gunmen have kept up attacks and abductions, four states across the northwest, including Zamfara, have introduced restrictions including limiting motorbike traffic, restricting fuel sales and also suspending cattle markets and transport.
Armed gangs often arrive on motorbikes during their abduction attacks and also engage in castle rustling. They operate out of camps hidden in forests in northwest Nigeria, often raiding and abducting in one state and crossing back with their victims into another state.
This year bandits have turned their sights on schools, seminaries and colleges across the region, herding children and students deep into forest hideouts while they negotiate ransom payments.
Though scores of students have been released, they regained their freedom after spending weeks or months in captivity. Dozens are still being held.