…… Abducted on Kaduna –Abuja road.
· Only HRH taken away
· Night raid easier for bandits
· Police escort killed
· Personal guards severely injured in gun duel
Despite communication shutdown ordered by the federal government on Zamfara and it neighbouring states bandits are still having their was as a first class traditional ruler, the Emir of Bungudu in Zamfara State, HRH Hassan Atto Attahiru, was abducted late Tuesday evening while traveling along Kaduna – Abuja highway.
It was learnt that the terrorist bandits were actually ready for him as they engaged his convoy in a hectic shootout from which his police escort was killed and several of his traditional guards sustained injuries.
Every effort to get help from security forces failed as the bandits were strategically positioned and put everybody including transporters under great pressure forcing them to make U-turn and speed away for dear life.
It was learnt that only his royal highness was taken away in the terrible shootout. The emerging darkness we learnt was a bonus to the bandits who could operate in the night better like a Leopard.
Kaduna – Abuja road had become a Bermuda Triangle where very important personalities and lowly ones alike had disappeared into the forest, some never to be seen again.
The Nigerian military forces had painted a picture of taking over the control of the highway that is as dangerous as the throat of a hungry crocodile. Kaduna is called the land of the crocodiles.
Surely, the Kaduna security committee had not known about this as at the time of reporting and Police in Kaduna are yet to comment on the incident.
Emir of Bangudu,it will be recalled had a faceoff with the bandits before and this is perhaps a reprisal attack which is in their habit.
Emir Attahiru is regarded as the lone voice exposing the flaws of the military operation in Zamfara State.
The truth this monarch wants the whole world to know about the Zamfara debacle is that killings by bandits are not abating despite the military operations against the criminals. Two weeks back, the bandits stormed Attahiru’s domain in broad daylight and killed 15 people.
Emir Attahiru’s message to the military is a very simple one: “Nobody is saying they (military) are not doing anything. They need to do more by taking the battle to the enclaves of the bandits, instead of fighting them at the periphery. Most times when they strike and retreat, these bandits regroup and launch more ferocious attacks on innocent villagers, accusing them of inviting the security agencies. These bandits are still around and wreaking havoc. The security force should take the war to them.”
The traditional ruler also has harsh words for the military on their air strikes in Zamfara: “The air strikes undertaken by the military do not hit the main camps of the bandits. Reports from Mutu in the Tsafe Local Government Area, Tangaram in the Anka Local Government Area and Dumburum in the Zurmi Local Government Area, among others, are that the areas shelled were not the actual hideouts of the bandits and the victims were innocent civilians. The army has been telling us all this while that it has thousands of troops on the ground. Why is it taking them (the troops) so much time to neutralise these bandits and allow banditry and kidnapping to fester to this level in Zamfara State? If truly they have located and bombed the bandits’ enclaves as they want to make us believe, we won’t be where we are.”
The tactical loopholes in the aerial attacks pointed out by the Emir of Bungudu call for concern. The Emir observed that whenever the Air Force carried out aerial attacks, there were no ground troops to complement air raids and mop up the fleeing bandits. This, he said, allowed bandits to escape and mix with innocent people living in fear and at the mercy of the fleeing hoodlums. The military is yet to respond, appropriately to these loopholes.
Sources who wish to remain anonymous believed that if all the top traditional rulers in the state have been outspoken like the Emir of Bungudu, perhaps Zamfara State would not be in this mess. Traditional rulers in bandit-ravaged states must realise that the mess will eventually get to them if they refuse to speak out. This was exactly what happened to the District Head of Daura in Katsina State, Alhaji Musa Umar, who was abducted last week. Thus, Daura, the hometown of President Muhammadu Buhari, has joined the inglorious list of bandit-ravaged communities. This District Head of Daura is also Buhari’s in-law. Umar, a former customs officer, is married to the daughter of the president’s sister. He is also the father of Fatima, wife of Col. Mohammed Abubakar, Buhari’s aide-de-camp (ADC). As at press time, Umar had not been released by the bandits. Other traditional rulers, who have decided to remain silent amidst security crisis in their domains, must learn from the pains of the District Head of Daura. They must consistently speak out about President Buhari’s ineptitude in this vital area of security, in order to be secured.
It was encouraging to see the Emir of Katsina, Abdulmumini Usman, join the few top traditional rulers putting pressure on Buhari to perform his constitutional responsibility of protecting lives and property of Nigerians. On Tuesday, Emir Usman bluntly told President Buhari to check the insecurity ravaging the North-west. The Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbe, who visited the Emir, ahead of the national launch of the distribution of cotton seeds/inputs to farmers for the 2019 planting season, was asked to take the frank message back to his principal.
The Emir said that the farmers and herdsmen, who are the target beneficiaries of the government’s agricultural initiatives, had abandoned their farms and herds as killings and kidnappings had become rampant in the region, including Katsina, Buhari’s home state.
“Every day I receive reports of kidnapping and killings from the district and village heads. Tell the president that we have to take care of our people, security first. All these programmes, as good as they are, cannot be successful without security. Security is first and fundamental…I have not seen this kind of country; how do we live like animals? Three days ago, Magaji Gari of Daura emirate council was abducted. Nobody is safe now, whether in your house or road, wherever you are. What we want you to do for us is to stop the killings. Many people have deserted, abandoned their farms in fear of kidnapping and killings and other atrocities. It’s very unfortunate.”
While Zamfara State is in anguish, its bleary governor, Abdulazziz Yari, is busy investing the state’s resources in the construction of Jumu’at Mosques. Within two years, 140 of such mosques were constructed across the state. Yari is celebrating this. He says it is part of his government’s commitment to the development of Islam. However, this governor has not shown the same commitment to the welfare of thousands of people dying in IDP camps across his state.
Yari is not committed to thousands of children orphaned by bandits in the last nine years in the state. He is not committed to thousands of women turned to widows by bandits in Zamfara. There is so much suffering in the three known makeshift IDP camps in this state – the abandoned government quarters in Maradun LGA, the uncompleted Emir’s Palace in Anka LGA and a primary school in Tsafe LGA. Facilities are inadequate for the distressed IDPs. Also, the camps are overpopulated because of the large number of people fleeing their villages because of bandits. There is no water or clinic in these camps. The Zamfara State Emergency Management Agency is as good as dead. IDPs can’t feel this agency. People struggle for a meal a day in the IDP camps. Yet, Yari has been spending huge amount constructing Jumu’at Mosques. What a country! This governor should show commitment to saving lives in the IDP camps instead of building Jumu’at Mosques with tax payers’ money.