Bandits abduct 44 residents, place N20m ‘protection levy’ on Zamfara community

At least 44 individuals have been kidnapped by bandits from the Kanwa hamlet in Zamfara State’s Zurmi Local Government Area.

In order to kidnap inhabitants, the bandits reportedly assaulted the neighborhood on Thursday night, November 17.

Musa Abdullahi, a resident of Zurmi town, informed Premium Times on Saturday, November 19, that 39 women, children, and five men were among the abducted victims.

“They started assembling locals in the village square right away. Men typically flee to the bush because they are aware that bandits kill mostly men, as you may know. The five men who were taken “had terrible luck,” he said.

“They went straight to the village square and started gathering residents. You know most time, men run to the bush because they know the bandits mostly kill men. The five men taken were very unlucky,” he said.

According to the publication, he mass abduction is believed to be perpetrated by a notorious bandits’ leader called Dankarami. Dankarami has been terrorizing residents of Zurmi – Birnin Magaji – Jibia axis in Zamfara and neighbouring Katsina states.

A resident said the bandits were yet to call relatives of the victims to demand for ransom.

The Emir of Zamfaran Zurmi, His Royal Highness Alhaji Muhammad Bello Suleiman, on Saturday, November 19, paid a condolence visit to the community.

The monarch sympathized with the people of Kanwa community on what happened and prayed that Allah will bring back the victims. 

Meanwhile, residents of Moriki town have started making effort to gather “protection fee” after armed criminals demanded for N20 million from the community.

Moriki has been witnessing terrorist attacks for years and has been one of the worse hit areas in the region. 

The levy, according to residents, is being mobilized from house to house and would be delivered to the armed men in Bello Turji’s camp after the criminal gang told them that they would protect the community from attacks if the levy was delivered.

A native of the community, Jamilu Shehu, said the deal was struck when some elders in the community met with a group of terrorists from the Bello Turji’s camp.

“Some weeks ago, some of our people were abducted when the ransom money was gathered, some of our elders went to pay the ransom and decided to talk with the bandits. They said we must pay a total of N20 million for protection which includes free access to our farm,” he said. 

“They also promised to protect us from attack by some other bandits in the area. Infact, they said from here to Birnin Gwari, anywhere any of our residents is abducted, we should let them know. But the problem is getting the money,” Mr Shehu, who is a youth leader told Premium Times on phone.

He added that the elders in the community have accepted the decision and it has been decided that every household should pay nothing less than N6,500 to make the sum. 

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