Five months after the Katsina State Government granted amnesty to repentant bandits, residents of the state on Saturday, January 4, 2020, said the peace accord had collapsed citing renewed armed attacks and nefarious activities in the state.
Some of the residents disclosed that five local government areas in the state were under siege already, including Dutsin-Ma, Jibia, Batsari, Safana and some parts of Kankara.
The residents expressed the concerns in separate interviews with ThisDay on Saturday, January 4, 2020, lamenting that bandits, who fled the state, had returned after the peace deal, unleashing attacks on the innocent residents.
Aminu Masari, the state governor, had granted amnesty to bandits after a tour of Fulani settlements and strong enclaves of the bandits in Rugu Forest on September 4-9, 2019 during which the bandits and forest commanders denounced banditry and accepted peace.
But renewed attacks on villages in the local governments, had forced residents particularly businessmen and herders to flee their ancestral homes to the affected local governments headquarters and state capital for safety.
A Dutsin-Ma resident, who pleaded for anonymity, said on January 2, 2020, bandits numbering about 17 on motorcycles attacked Gizawa village of Dutsin-Ma local government where they abducted twins—Hassana and Husseina Idris.
He said: “The bandits launched an attack on the village at about 8: 27 p.m. and kidnapped Hassana and Husseina Idris who are twin sisters and rustled many animals. As I speak to you, some residents of the village had fled to Dutsin-Ma.
“The same bandits also attacked Badole village that same night where they shot sporadically and scattered all the residents and cart away their belongings including their animals,” the resident explained.
Usman Maigari, another resident of Batsari, said on January 1, 2020, bandits blocked Mata-Mulki route from Batsari, preventing commuters from travelling through the stretch.
According to him, they later moved into the village and kidnapped seven women who were working on their farmlands at about 10:00 a.m. But luckily for us police engaged them in a gun duel and rescued all the kidnapped women.
Similarly, a resident of Jibia, Kamilu Idris told THISDAY that villages in the local government had been under attacks despite the peace deal between government and the hoodlums.
Idris said: “We witnessed several attacks in Shinfidda, Gurbi, Mallamawa, Farfaru and Daddara in the last one week. They usually hold AK-47 rifles and offensive weapons and circled the villages so that nobody would escape.
“They started attacking the villagers in their houses and shooting sporadically at those of us who were trying to escape. They killed some people and kidnapped others.”
Speaking on the renewed attacks, the special adviser to Governor Masari on security matters, Ibrahim Katsina, said the state government was reviewing the lapses of the amnesty “to tackle pockets of attacks being experienced in some communities in the state.
“We are involving community base approach in order to end the resurgence of the bandits. I can assure you that with the measures we put in place, very soon banditry will be history in the state,” Katsina explained.
He called on residents of the state not to be threatened by the activities of the hoodlums as proactive measures have been adequately put in placed to curb the scourge in the state.
He urged the residents of the state, particularly those in rural communities, to remain calm and go about their normal activities as government and security agencies have put security measures in place to ensure their safety.