For Katsina residents, 2020 is a year of horror

From Umar Usman, Katsina

The 2020 will be remembered by the people of Katsina state as a dark year, at least for the numerous inhuman attacks launched by armed bandits, kidnappers and cattle rustlers on innocent residents of the state.

The gunmen conducted their nefarious activities across many communities in the state despite presence of joint task-force from security forces posted to the state by the federal government.

During the year, hardly a week will pass without reported case of either an attack on particular community, kidnapping or killing innocent citizens.

According to reports, there was no single week in the year 2020 free from attack by bandits, kidnappers or rustlers, especially in the worst hit local government areas of Faskari, Kankara, Dandume, Safana, Batsari, Danmusa, and Jibia.

On Saturday, February 15, 2020, a gang of bandits attacked Tsauwa and Dankar villages in Batsari LGA killing 30 people, mostly elderly women and children.

Locals in the two affected communities, who pleaded for anonymity, told Daily Telescope that the bandits in large number stormed the two villages shortly after Magrib prayers on motorcycles, armed with guns, shooting sporadically.

The state’s Commissioner of Police, Alhaji Sanusi Buba, who confirmed the two attacks, said in Tsauwa village alone, 21 persons were killed, saying 13 of them were burnt to ashes because they could not run for their lives.

CP Buba added that nine people were killed in Dankar village, while several domestic animals worth millions of naira were burnt by the attackers.

According to locals, on April 18, 2020, a gang of armed bandits launched violent attacks in three LGAs of Dutsinma, Danmusa and Safana, killing 36 persons and injuring several others.

One of the locals who identified himself as Haro (not real name), said apart from destruction of properties worth millions of naira, unidentified number of residents are still missing several months after the attack.

He told Daily Telescope that the attack was a reprisal by the bandits, as according to him some members of the local vigilante group in the village had earlier attacked members of the bandit’s gang.

The spokesman of the police command in the state, SP Gambo Isah, who confirmed the incident in a statement issued to newsmen, said 47 persons were killed.

Also, on June 10, 2020, gang of bandits armed with sophisticated weapons attacked Kadisau town in Faskari LGA where they killed over 30 persons.

A resident in the affected town, who craved for anonymity, said the bandits arrived at the town around 4:30pm riding over 100 motorcycles.

According to him, the bandits spent two hours operating in the town, alleging that security operatives did not come to their aid until an hour after the bandits left the village.

He said: “This particular attack occurred one week after the district Head of ‘Yan Tumaki was killed by unidentified gunmen. His murder made 12 district heads in the area to desert their respective communities.”

Moreover, on July 7, 2020, bandits numbering over 200 reportedly killed 15 farmers at ‘Yar Gamji village in Batsari LGA of the state. The farmers were killed while working on their respective farmlands.

This attack, Daily Telescope observed occurred at the time when the Nigerian Army was flagging off ‘exercise Sahel Sanity,’ operation that was meant to mitigate the spate of banditry, kidnapping, cattle rustling and other related crimes bedeviling Katsina, Zamfara, Sokoto, Kaduna and Niger states.

The recent and most shocking attack that that took place in Katsina in the year 2020, was on Friday, December 11, when a gang of armed bandits stormed Government Science Secondary School, Kankara and abducted about 500 students.

The attack happened less than six hours after President Muhammadu Buhari arrived at his home state for a week-long private visit.

The students were abducted from the school after the bandits killed the school’s security guard at the entrance to gained access into the hostels.

The unfortunate incidents, Daily Telescope observed led to closure of all public schools in Katsina and some neighbouring states.

After a combined team of security personnel comprising soldiers, police and DSS and NSCDC swung into the action, all the students were rescued after spending a week in captivity.

 

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