Kidnappers, Cattle Rustlers Spread Fear In Kaduna

Map of Kaduna State

 

A spate of kidnappings for ransom in the Birnin Gwari district of northern Nigeria’s Kaduna state has left residents afraid to even leave their homes.

“When a person travels, his family, friends and neighbours gather to pray for his safety because of the kidnappers,” said local resident Kabiru Mohammed.

“It’s celebrations once he returns because kidnapping on the highway has become the norm. It’s a nightmare that should only exist in fairytales,” he told AFP by telephone.

Mohammed and his neighbours have good reason to be anxious.

Kidnappings have reached unprecedented levels in the last two months. In early May, about 100 people were abducted in just two days on a road near the border with Zamfara state.

Haruna Musa, who also lives in Birnin Gwari, said the situation has forced people in at least six villages in the area to abandon their homes.

Last week, an armed gang raided the village of Maganda and kidnapped three wives of a businessman. Many locals now don’t sleep at night. Instead, they patrol their communities.

“I also join in the night patrols to encourage others,” said Mustapha Idris, the chief imam of Maganda.

But the creation of civilian militia has itself had deadly consequences. On May 6, at least 71 people were killed in Gwaska village during clashes with armed bandits.

Grisly warnings

Birnin Gwari is not alone in being affected. In Zamfara, there have been similar problems from kidnapping and cattle rustling gangs.

“The mere sound of a motorcycle engine outside your house at night robs you of sleep because it could be a sign that the dreaded bandits have come,” said Nuhu Dansadau.

Dansadau said his village, also called Dansadau, and others nearby have been repeatedly raided.

Aliyu Kawaye, who lives in the town of Anka, said the abductors seize cash and force families to sell their farm produce to raise the ransom payment.

According to the state government, more than 10,000 cattle have been stolen in the last seven years.

“What is more worrisome is the deliberate attack on farmers who dare to go to their farms,” said Dansadau.

“The bandits amputate their hands from the wrists, put the severed palms in the farmers’ pockets and send them back to the village as a warning to others.”

Lucrative venture

The kidnapping gangs and cattle thieves, who roam on motorcycles on the hunt for victims, are known to operate in northern Kaduna and Zamfara.

Both regions have been largely spared by the Boko Haram insurgency, another of Nigeria’s pressing security problems along with a land conflict between nomads and farmers.

The kidnappers’ heavily guarded camps dot the Rugu forest, which straddles Kaduna, Zamfara and the northern states of Kano, Sokoto, Kebbi and Niger.

Abductees whose families don’t pay ransoms are killed and their bodies dumped, according to security sources.

Kidnapping for ransom used to be a phenomenon isolated to oil-rich southern Nigeria. But it has spread further north and become lucrative because of economic hardship.

It has also attracted young ethnic Fulani herders who have lost their herds in unrest with farmers over grazing and watering rights.

Young Fulani herders now make up most of the marauding gangs in northern Nigeria and other West African countries, said Saleh Bayeri, of the Gan Allah Fulani Development Association.

Inadequate security

The Kaduna state government formed a joint military and police taskforce to combat kidnapping and cattle rustling in Birnin Gwari but has had little success.

In March, bandits likely armed with illegal weapons smuggled in from Mali and Libya, killed 11 troops at a camp in the area, prompting the military to withdraw.

In April, the Nigerian Air Force deployed special forces to Zamfara to fight the gangs but locals said more was needed.

“The bandits by far outnumber the troops and are better armed,” said Kawaye.

Zamfara governor Abdulaziz Yari has said he does not have adequate resources to police a state which at 40,000 square kilometres (15,400 square miles) is about the same size as Switzerland.

There are only 2,000 regular police officers, 400 riot police, 315 soldiers and fewer than 100 air force personnel for a population of more than four million, he said in February.

In response to the killings, he has ordered troops to shoot on sight anyone seen with a gun in affected areas. But that and a number of amnesty offers have had little effect.

“The best way to end this menace is for the government to send in more troops and weapons to fight these criminals as well as intensify security along our borders,” said Dansadau.

AFP

Buhari Approves New Security Measures To Tackle Killings In Birnin Gwari

Buhari Approves New Security Measures To Tackle Killings In Birnin Gwari
File photo: President Muhammadu Buhari

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the establishment of a new battalion of the Nigerian Army and a new Police Area Command in Birnin Gwari Local Government Area of Kaduna State.

This was revealed in a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to President on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, on Monday in Abuja.

READ ALSO27 Feared Killed As Bandits Attack Kaduna Village

According to the statement, the approval comes as part of measures by the Federal Government to scale up the security response to the banditry affecting the area.

No fewer than 27 people were reported killed and several others injured on Sunday when armed bandits attacked Gwaska village in Birnin Gwari LGA.

The President, however, condemned the attack in strong terms, describing it as a massacre of innocent Nigerians in the area.

“I am deeply outraged by this unwarranted, unprovoked and reckless destruction of lives by bandits who belong to the lowest level of civilization.

“I feel the pains and devastation of the families of the victims, and this administration will do everything possible to ensure we defeat these enemies of humanity,” he said.

President Buhari further extended his condolences to the families of the victims, the government and the people of Kaduna State over the unfortunate tragedy.

He also assured them that his administration would never abandon them to their fate.

The new Army battalion and the Police Area Command are the latest in a series of law enforcement measures to ensure an enhanced protection of lives and property, in and around Benue, Kaduna, Taraba, Zamfara and Nasarawa states.

Last week, the Nigerian Air Force took delivery of two new helicopter gunships, for deployment to parts of the country affected by banditry.

A Quick Response Wing has also been established by the Nigerian Air Force in Taraba State, while a Joint Military Intervention Force is fully on ground in Benue.

To this end, President Buhari assured residents of the affected states that security remains a priority for his government.

He vowed that his administration would not tolerate the repeated killings of innocent people, an act he said was aimed at setting Nigerians against one another.

“These persistent killings are not spontaneous; there are subterranean forces with a sinister agenda to instigate a war in the country for selfish purposes.”

“Although unconventional war is particularly complicated, our security forces are making rigorous efforts to better understand these enemies with a view to decisively checkmating their evil attacks,” the President added.

We Are Committed To Overcoming Criminality, El-Rufai Reacts To Birnin Gwari Attack

Kaduna Govt Increases Teachers' Salaries by 32.5%

The Kaduna State Government has condoled with the people of Birnin Gwari  following latest attacks on the area by bandits noting that the state government is committed to overcoming criminality.

El-Rufai in a statement signed by his media aide, Samuel Aruwan, said the state government is making efforts to establish a permanent base in the area in order contain the incessant attacks on residents of the communities.

“The Kaduna State Government has received with sadness reports of the murder of our citizens by armed bandits in Birnin Gwari. Kaduna State Government is deeply committed to overcoming the unfortunate criminality and banditry being carried out against innocent citizens in Birnin Gwari local government,” the statement read in part.

At least 27 persons were feared killed and several others injured in a Saturday night attack by bandits in Gwaska village in Birnin Gwari local government area of Kaduna State.

The latest attack occurred barely a week after 14 local miners were massacred by gunmen at Janruwa community also in Birnin-Gwari local government area of the State.

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El-Rufai, however, added that the state government is working with the Federal Government to tackle criminality and banditry. he added that President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the establishment of a permanent battalion of the Nigerian Army in the Birnin Gwari general area

“The engagements between the state and federal governments have yielded results. The new security arrangements also involve policing. The Inspector General of Police has already announced the creation of the Birnin Gwari Police Area Command and two new Divisional Police Headquarters,” he said.

The governor also directed the State Emergency Management Agency, to provide relief materials to the affected communities.

27 Feared Killed As Bandits Attack Kaduna Village

 

At least 27 people have been reported killed and some others injured as armed bandits attacked Gwaska village in Birnin Gwari local government area of Kaduna State.

The latest attack is coming barely a week after 14 local miners were massacred by gunmen at Janruwa community also in Birnin-Gwari local government area of the State.

Although the Kaduna State police command is yet to confirm the attack, indigenes of the area told Channels Television reporter that the armed bandits who allegedly came from neighbouring Zamfara State invaded the village at about 7:00 p.m.

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The Saturday night attack according to the residents saw the armed bandits shooting sporadically. The gunmen were also said to have burnt down houses in the community.

Survivors mostly women now at Doka district said, most of those killed were volunteers who tried to defend the vulnerable villagers from the attack.

They appealed to the state and the federal government to take urgent steps to forestall further attacks and extinction of communities in Birnin-Gwari local government area of Kaduna State.

The Kaduna State Police Command has earlier deployed a special strike force to curb the activities of terrorists, armed robbers, cattle rustlers and other criminal elements in the Kuyanbana and Kaumuku forests in Birnin Gwari Local Government Area of the state.

The operation code-named Operation Restore Hope was aimed at flushing out the bandits from their hideouts and restore peace and security in the area.

Gunmen Kill Two Policemen, Abduct NURTW Chairman And Others In Kaduna

Gunmen Kill Six People In Fresh Kaduna Attack

 

Some gunmen have attacked a police checkpoint at Ciki Da Falo village in Birnin Gwari Local Government Area of Kaduna State, killing two policemen and abducting about 18 people.

The fresh attack on Thursday comes barely two weeks after 11 soldiers were killed at their base by armed bandits in the same local government area.

Among the abducted persons in the latest attack were the Birnin Gwari branch Chairman of National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) Audu Kano and seven members of the union.

Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr Austin Iwar, confirmed the death of the policemen during the attack to our correspondent.

An indigene of the village, which is along Funtua-Birnin Gwari Road, told our correspondent that bandits opened fire on unsuspecting policemen at the checkpoint around 4 pm.

Community sources said the attackers, who were armed with guns and other weapons, later abducted passengers travelling to Katsina and Zamfara states.

Despite the efforts by the Kaduna State government to improve security in the state, many people have been killed and several others abducted in Birnin Gwari Local Government Area.

Cattle Rustling: Police Deploy Strike Force In Birnin Gwari Forests

Police Question Man Over Ogoni Food PoisoningThe Kaduna State Police Command has deployed a special strike force to help curb the activities of terrorists, armed robbers, cattle rustlers and other criminal elements in the Kuyanbana and Kaumuku forests in Birnin Gwari Local Government Area of the state.

The operation code named Operation Restore Hope is aimed at flushing out the bandits from their hideouts and restore peace and security in the area.

Inaugurating the special strike force on Friday, the Kaduna State Commissioner of Police, Agyole Abeh, said that the operatives would be deployed in the forests, major highways and other flashpoints within the local government area where they criminals hide.

Abeh told members of the strike force at the Binin Gwari Divisional Police Station before their departure that the command would no longer tolerate any situation where a part of the state would be taken over by criminal elements.

He warns those participating in the operation to abide by the rules of engagement and respect civilian authorities.

The police commissioner assured the citizens living around the area that the arrival of the special strike force, together with the cooperation of the locals would bring the activities of rustlers and other criminal elements to an end.

He said, “Cattle rustling is not peculiar to Birnin Gwari and if you have been following the trends, you will see the efforts the Police have been making to ensure that this menace is controlled.

“I personally came here today to ensure that the troops curtail the activities of these rustlers and other armed bandits. We are not going to operate within the urban areas; we are going into the bush and far places we think these cattle rustlers and bandits are hiding.”

Abeh called on the people to support the police as they go about their duty.

He added, “This operation is the normal police duty of maintaining law and order, but I want to see it as a mission to restore confidence in the minds of the people of Birnin Gwari and ensure that there is sanity.
“We have been able to achieve a lot from the operation, last week we recovered about 220 cattle from rustlers and we have some suspects in our custody.”

Birnin Gwari Local Government Area has been rocked by cases of armed robbery, terrorism, kidnappings and cattle rustlings over the years, with many businesses relocating from the area.

Kaduna Police Deploys Special Troops To Birnin Gwari Forests

Abia Police Launch Strategies For Festive SeasonThe Kaduna State Police Command has deployed Special Forces to help curb activities of terrorists, armed robbers, cattle rustlers and other criminal elements inside the Kuyanbana and Kaumuku forests in Birnin Gwari Local Government Area of the state.

The operation code named Operation Restore Hope was aimed to flush out the bandits from their hideouts and restore peace and security in the area.

Inaugurating the special strike force on Friday, the Kaduna State Commissioner of Police, Agyole Abeh, said that the operatives would be deployed to the forests, major highways and other flash-points within the local government where the criminals are hiding, by ensuring that the lives and property of road users and residents are protected.

Addressing the troops before their departure at the Binin Gwari Divisional Police Station, the Police commissioner vows that the command will no longer tolerate any situation where a part of the state would be taken over by criminal elements. He warns the troops to abide by the rule of engagement and also respect civilian authorities during the operation.

Mr Abeh who said that the exercise would be a continuous operation, assured the citizens living around the area that the arrival of the special strike force, together with the cooperation of the locals will bring activities of rustlers and other criminal elements to an end.

‘”Cattle rustling is not peculiar to Birnin Gwari alone and if you have been following trend of events , you will see the efforts the Police has put in place to ensure that this menace is being controlled.

“I personally came here today to ensure that the troops curtail the activities of these rustlers and other armed bandits. We are not going to operate within the urban areas , we going into the bush and far places we think these cattle rustlers and bandits are hiding.

“We need the assistance of the locals who know the terrain very well so that we can move deep inside the forests. This operation is the normal police duty of maintenance of law and order, but this particular one I want to see it as a mission to restore confidence in the minds of the people of Birnin Gwari and ensure that there is sanity. We have been able to achieve a lot from the operation, last week, we recovered about 220 cattle from rustlers and we have some suspects in our custody”.

Birnin Gwari Local Government Area in Kaduna state has been disturbed by cases of Armed Robbery, terrorism, Kidnappings and Cattle Rustlings over the years, with many businesses relocating from the area.

It is therefore expected that the menace of these criminal gangs in the North-Central and North-West zones of the country would be reduced to the barest minimum, due to the deployment of troops to flush them out from their hideouts.

PDP Salutes Military For Clearing Sambisa Forest

Military, PDP, SambisaThe Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has praised the Nigerian Military for its recent successes, especially the clearing of Boko Haram terrorists’ stronghold, the Sambisa forest.

The party, in a statement by its spokesman, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, on Tuesday described the feat as an important milestone.

They also commended President Muhammadu Buhari’s war against insurgency, stressing that he has built on the efforts of his predecessors.

Long And Bitter Struggle

According to the statement: “A few days ago, the military hierarchy announced that the military has cleared the dreaded Sambisa forest of Boko Haram terrorists. This is a welcome development in the fight against terrorism.

“We congratulate Nigerians for this important milestone in the long and bitter struggle against the forces of evil that have wreaked so much suffering and hardship on our people in the last few years.

“We also congratulate the President for his dogged pursuit of the war against insurgency. We are happy that he has built on the efforts of his Predecessors. Whatever we are witnessing now is as a result of all the efforts and sacrifices of the past and present. Nigerians and the international community will recall that the war effort received a major boost in the weeks leading up to the 2015 general elections. The insurgents were virtually annihilated – a feat that made it possible for elections to hold peacefully in almost all the local government areas of all the states in the Northeast last year. We are therefore very much delighted with the continuation of this great effort by the President.

Fighting With Great Courage

“We salute the men and women of our beloved armed forces. Their courage, determination and sacrifice made this achievement possible. The men and women of the Nigerian Armed Forces have served and continue to serve with distinction in many peacekeeping operations all over the world. We salute them for fighting with great courage to keep the peace in their own country.

“We also thank the international community for their support and encouragement, particularly those countries that have helped in the procurement of critical military hardware”.

The opposition party, however warned that the clearing of the Sambisa forest was a critical milestone but not the end of the war against insurgency and urged the government and the military not rest on their oars.

“The hot pursuit of the terrorists must continue unabated and relentlessly until the entire Northeast is rid completely of them.

“Beyond Sambisa, all the other forests which criminals used as hideouts and bases must equally be cleared by the military. Forests such as Birnin Gwari, Zamfara, Southern Kaduna, Enugu and Benue have become killing fields. They must all be cleared of criminal elements,” the PDP stated.

It further stressed that “all hands must be on deck to ensure the peace and unity of our dear country without which we can never hope to meet our developmental aspirations”.

Security Operatives Recover Over 300 Stolen Cows

Cattle-Rustling-KAnoSecurity operatives attached to the ‘Operation Yaki’ security outfit in Kaduna State, have recovered over 300 cows and other animals stolen by rustlers in various parts of the state.

During the handover of the recovered animals to their owners, a spokesman for the Governor, Colonel Yusuf Yakubu, told reporters that the animals were stolen from herdsmen and later recovered from the rustlers at two villages in Kachia Local Government Area of the state where they were hidden.

Colonel Yakubu explained that the recovery was made possible through intelligence information from members of the public.

He says the operation is part of efforts by the state government to curtail armed banditry, insurgency and other related crimes in the state.

According to him, the recovered animals were being handed over to their owners after thorough scrutiny.

He applauded the contribution of security operatives in ensuring that activities of rustlers and other criminals were reduced to the barest minimum across the state.

He also added that security agents in the state had so far recovered over 17, 000 cows since the government began efforts to rid the state of cattle rustlers over a year ago.

The outfit had set up collation centres for the recovered animals in Birnin Gwari, Zaria, Kachia and Jere.

Colonel Yakubu said: “Recently, there were two operations conducted by our operatives. The first operation was conducted in October 2016, which recovered 95 animals. Then the second and third operations were conducted on the 28 and 29 of the same month where we recovered a total of 312 cows.

“This operation was conducted by our Sector one of Operation Yaki which comprises Nigerian Army, Police and the Navy that are in Kachia.

“The information that we got from people led to the successful operation. We most especially commend the leadership of Miyetti Allah in Kaduna state, they are doing a good job, they led us into this operation and we made these recovery”.

The North West Chairman of Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, Ahmadu Sulaiman, commended the security agencies and Kaduna State government for their commitment to rid the state of cattle rustlers.

UNAIDS Declares Kaduna State Best In Reducing Mother-Child HIV Transmission

UNAIDSThe United Nationals Programme on HIV/AIDS, (UNAIDS), has declared Kaduna State the best performing state in the reduction of mother-child transmission of HIV virus.   

This declaration was contained in a letter addressed to the Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, by the UNAIDS Country Director, Dr. Bilali Camara, at the end of the the first phase of the 2015 Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Week (MNCH).

According to a statement by the spokesman to the Governor, Samuel Aruwan, Kaduna State won the prize, following a week long counselling and testing of 84,000 pregnant women for HIV across government hospitals in the state.

The statement also mentioned the effort of the state in the reduction of mother-child transmission of HIV, which necessitated the recognition of the achievement by the agency which also pledged the sum of $14,000 to support Kaduna State in the next phase of the MNCH.

The state’s healthcare system also got a boost, as MTN Foundation had selected five state hospitals to benefit from its Maternity Ward Support Project (MWSP).

The benefiting hospitals are; Yusuf Dantsoho Hospital, Kaduna, General Hospital, Kafanchan, Jubrin Maigari Hospital, Birnin-Gwari, Hajiya Gambo Sawaba Hospital, Zaria and the Dabo Lere Memorial Hospital, Saminaka.

A letter from the MTN Foundation to the state Governor also said that the five hospitals were selected after rigorous inspection and verification of the expression of interest submitted by the state.

With the selection of five hospitals, the maternal wards of each of the hospitals will get 20 adjustable hospital beds, 20 bedside cupboards, 10 foldable ward screens, 20 hydraulic over-bed tables, 20 visitor chairs, two neonatal incubators, 20 baby cots, 10 drip stands, 20 mattresses and 40 pillows.

In addition, all the maternal wards will be renovated, with the provision of toilets and a nurse’s bay.

Kaduna Killings: Agwai Appointed Chairman Of Security Committee

kaduna governorKaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, has appointed the former Chief of Defence Staff, LT General Martin Luther Agwai, as Chairman of a security committee set up by the state government to recommend ways to stamp out attacks on communities in the southern part of the state.

According to a statement issued on Saturday by the Governor’s Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Samuel Aruwan, the committee is part of the government’s multidimensional approach in finding lasting solutions to the killings in the area, which have continued since the post-election violence of 2011.

The committee’s terms of reference are to identify the socio-political and economic factors that promote existing conflicts in Southern Kaduna and advise on measures to be taken by the government to address them,

The committee will also explore ways of finding mutual solutions that engender reconciliation between communities in Southern Kaduna and also advise the government on how the villages and communities of Southern Kaduna would be free from attacks bedevilling it.

It has 30 days to complete its assignment and submit its report.

The chairman of the committee, Mr Agwai, is presently serving as a United Nations envoy in Sudan.

On Thursday, 13 people were killed and 15 others critically wounded in separate attacks at two local government areas of the state.

The governor had earlier disclosed that a security committee which would include traditional rulers and other critical stakeholders would soon be established by the state government in order to work out the specific roles for traditional rulers towards the maintenance of peace and security in the state.

Gunmen Kill 13 In Kaduna Villages

kadunaUnknown gunmen have killed at least ten people at Katsak Village in Jema’a Local Government Area (LGA) and three others at Ungwan Danborno in Birnin Gwari Local Government Area of Kaduna State.

The men also injured about 15 persons who are presently receiving treatment at different hospitals.

According to an eyewitness account, the gunmen stormed Katsat Village when they were celebrating an annual cultural festival at about 9pm on Thursday night and opened fire on them, thereby disrupting the event.

Channels Television Correspondent reports that although the identity and mission of the gunmen is yet to be ascertained by the villagers, the latest attacks have created tension in the villages as indigenes have remained indoors for fear of further attack.

Meanwhile, the Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, has condemned the attacks in the two LGAs.

In a statement issued by his spokesman, Samuel Aruwan, Governor El-Rufai expressed his sympathy to the victims, giving them the assurance that the state government would adopt a comprehensive measure designed to tackle the problem and ensure sustainable peace and security across the state.

The statement also restated Governor El-Rufai’s determination to work with the security agencies and the judiciary towards ending the “epidemic of killings and the impunity that feeds it”.

No fewer than 500 people have been killed and property worth millions destroyed in similar attacks in the southern part of the state within the last two years.