Nigeria

Kaduna: Bandits kill 222, kidnap 774 persons in three months

Governor Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai of Kaduna State has reacted to the new the killing of six children and a woman in some herders’ settlements in the Kaura and Lere Local Government Areas of the State.

The Kaduna Government on Tuesday said a total of 222 people have been killed while 774 others have been kidnapped by bandits in in various parts of the state in the past three months.

The gruesome statistics was contained in the second quarter security report, presented to Governor Nasir El-Rufai by the Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Mr. Samuel Aruwan, on Tuesday at the Government House Kaduna.

The report, which covers the period between April 1 to June 30, 2021 showed a slight reduction in the number of deaths and the number of people abducted across the state during the period compared to the previous three months.

The Kaduna government had said a total of 323 persons were killed while 949 others were kidnapped by bandits across the State in the first three months of the year.

The report also indicated that 8,553 heads of cattle were rustled in the period under review with most stolen from the Kaduna Central Senatorial District.

According to the report, the 222 deaths resulted from banditry attacks, communal clashes and reprisals across the state.

The report also indicated that 159 of the deaths, were recorded in Kaduna Central Senatorial District while 54 and nine deaths were recorded at Southern Kaduna Senatorial District and Northern Senatorial District respectively.

On the abductions, the report indicated 555 out of the 774 people were kidnapped, Kaduna Central Senatorial with most affected communities in Birnin Gwari, Chikun, Kajuru, Giwa and Igabi LGAs.

“Southern Kaduna Senatorial District recorded 164 kidnapped persons, with Kachia LGA reporting the highest number of 111.

“The Northern Senatorial District recorded 55 kidnapped persons, with 37 of these from Zaria LGA.

“In total, 239 women, and 32 minors were kidnapped in the second quarter across the state,” the Commissioner said in the report.

In addition, the commissioner disclosed that 20 persons were raped across the state during the period, adding that a total of 266 were injured as a result of banditry, violent attacks, reprisals and communal clashes.

The report indicated that the attacks constituted threats food insecurity, education and health facilities in the state.

He said, “Banditry has hampered farming activities in the frontline areas of the state.

“Bandits attack and abduct farmers working on or on their way to their fields. Several farmers have similarly been killed.

“Furthermore, bandits have begun to extract protection levies from some communities in return for permission to cultivate their fields.

“Many farmers in these areas, fearing for their lives and safety, have abandoned their fields altogether.

“This has already begun to affect crop yields, and the threat of food insecurity looms large.”

He said the most affected communities are in the frontline Local Government Areas of Birnin Gwari, Igabi, Giwa, Zaria, Chikun, Kauru, Kajuru, Kachia, Kagarko, Zangon Kataf, Jema’a and Sanga.”

He also pointed out that attacks on some schools and mass abduction of students portends dire consequences for education in the state.

“Banditry has led to the near-total collapse of the local economy in frontline areas, which is mainly sustained by crop and livestock farming. “The activities of bandits in these areas have dispossessed residents of their foremost means of sustenance and disrupted the operation of the usually dynamic weekly markets.

“Besides the rustling of cattle, the previously highlighted targeting of farmers by armed bandits has generally eroded the economic viability of rural communities, in addition to precipitating a food crisis.

“This has translated to losses running into billions of naira from the rural economy.”

While noting that the state government is continuing with pursuit of strategies to address the security challenges, the commissioner decried the politicization of insecurity saying “political mappings and strategies are now frequently being built around the unfortunate scenarios of insecurity, while real people and real communities suffer devastation at the hands of sheer criminals.”

“Ethnic and religious narratives are also being built around banditry, to the further complication of security management.

“Too often, attacks by bandits are portrayed to the public by some quarters as ethnically or religiously motivated.

“Such groups manipulate religious, ethnic and political sensitivities for their own advantage, simply to advance a cause inimical to peace and stability of the state.”

Speaking after receiving the reports, Governor Nasir El-Rufai said an unconventional approach is required to enable the state government protect its citizens.

A Government House statement issued after the presentation of the report, quoted the governor as calling on the federal government to empower the state government to make up for the manpower deficit in the security sector.

“The state government must be empowered and supported by the federal government to make up the manpower deficit in the security sector”, the statement quoted the governor.

He added that “citizens who have been affected by crime and insecurity are not interested in the distinctions between the federal and state governments in terms of their powers over security.

‘’As a state government, we have also seen at close quarters how the federal security agencies are limited by manpower deficits.

“There are simply not enough boots on the ground to have credible deployments in most places to protect communities, deter crime and enforce law and order.

‘’An unconventional approach is required to enable us better to protect our communities and we are engaging with the federal government and the leadership of the security agencies on this.”

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