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Insecurity: Bandits kill over 40, raze houses in Plateau community

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.TIC chairman, Police confirm 9 killed

.Senate plans National Summit on farmers’/herders’ clash

. As Reps urge FG to beef up security in Kogi communities over banditry, kidnapping

 

From Daniel Dauda, Jos

Suspected bandits, numbering in the dozens, have launched an attack on Zurak village in Bashar District of Wase local government area, Plateau state.

 

The assault resulted in the deaths of over 40 residents, including vigilantes, and left several others injured.

 

Daily Champion Newspaper learned that, the gunmen also set fire to numerous houses during their rampage.

 

Residents reported that the attack took place around 7 pm on Monday, as the community was engaged in their usual evening activities.

 

However, due to the poor communication network in the area, they were unable to report the incident promptly.

 

Sahpi’i Sambo, a youth leader in the area, confirmed the incident to our correspondent.

 

He reported that the bandits arrived on motorcycles, with two riders per bike, and began shooting indiscriminately at the residents with sophisticated weapons.

 

He said: “More than 40 people were killed while many others were injured. Residents of the village have fled to neighbouring communities to have cover. As of yesterday, security personnel had not yet arrived at the community. It was a deadly attack.”

 

Hamza, a resident of the area, confirmed to Daily Champion over the phone that Zurak village has long been plagued by banditry.

 

He said that the bandits have been targeting the local mining company in this border town between the Wase and Kanam areas, which has been reported as a terrorist camp.

 

He noted that on Monday night, a large group of bandits invaded the community, similar to what has been occurring in Zamfara, to demand their usual tax.

 

However, the residents, particularly those near the mining company, refused to pay.

 

This refusal triggered a violent confrontation, as the villagers were fade up with the extortion.

 

The situation escalated into a gun battle, with the bandits threatening to annihilate the villagers.

 

Again, Hamza, further told  Daily Champion that, one Isa Musa also a resident of the community, said about seven residents were abducted, while over 40 were killed.

 

In another twists, Transition Implementation Committee (TIC) Chairman of Wase LGA, Hon. Hamisu Anani who spoke to our correspondent confirmed the incident, saying,

there was an operation that took place by the combined security operatives and the Vigilante last month.”Then, the bandits were now, in fact some of the bandits were even trying to surrender their arms based on the operation that took place between the combined operation of DSS and the Vigilante.

 

“So after the attack, some of them they didn’t come out they still remained in the bush. So they lack water and fuel for their motorcycles, all the villagers were informed and them they don’t have where to go.

 

“Last Monday, 12/5/2024,the market day of one village, “Bangalala” the bandits now decide and come out fully to attack that village for them to get food.The villagers now successfully retaliate and killed seven of the bandits.

 

“Just yesterday, Monday, 20/5/2024, the bandits came and attacked the neighboring village Zurak, under Kampanin-Zurak, a mining company.

 

“Actually, as of the today you know as Local government that has the highest land mass, as of that time that the attack happened were been able to get about 9 corpses while many were taken to the hospital,” mentioned.

 

Meanwhile the spokesman of the Plateau state police command, DSP Alfred Alabo, also confirmed the scenario.

 

Alabo said, there was clearance operation carried by the DSS and other security operatives against bandits along that axis. The bandits were been pursued from Bangalala, a boarder town between Bauchi, Plateau and Taraba states.

 

However, during the clearance operation by security operatives at the Taraba axis where seven of the bandits were neutralized.

 

“On escaping to the shores of Plateau, passed through Zurak village, unfortunately, killed six person among are three vigilante personnel making it nine in that particular place while escaping,” according to the police spokesman.

 

“Also our DPO got wing of one of the bandit that was shot with bullet wounds and was trying to get treatment and was revived, while the victim is now at the custody of the police in Jos.”

 

The police spokesman said, “so far the CP had made more deployment to Wase, especially the Bashar Division in Zurak town for more enforcement.

However, The Senate has resolved to set up an ad hoc committee to convene a national summit on herders/ farmers conflict in Nigeria.

This followed adoption of a motion on matter of urgent importance on the “Urgent Need for Rehabilitation of Agojeju Odo,Ajokpachi, Bagaji, and Bagana Communities in Omala of Kogi following gunmen attack, by Sen. Isah Jibrin (APC-Kogi) at Tuesday’s plenary.

Presenting the motion, Jibrin, said the area had been under recurring attacks by gunmen, leading to killings,   destruction of property and farmlands.

He said the attacks and killings had rendered many homeless with no means of sustenance.

He said it was worrisome that Agojeju Odo, Ajokpachi Odo, Bagaji, and Bagana communities had  been ravaged recently by gunmen, rendering over 30,000 inhabitants of the communities homeless and leading to exodus of the people to other parts of the state.

He said on April 5, gunmen allegedly invaded Agojeju Odo, Ajokpachi Odo, Bagaji and Bagana communities, killing 21 innocent residents, including women and children, in addition to unprecedented destruction of their farm produce.

Also, he was alarmed that on April 30, gunmen attacked Ajokpachi Odo community in Omala LGA, killing no fewer than three persons and rendering the entire community desolate, with no health facility to cater for the deteriorating health conditions of the survivors.

He said the attacks had resulted in the killings of over 500 residents, in addition to wanton destruction of public and private property worth hundreds of millions of naira.

“The displaced persons have resolved to return to their ancestral homes but cannot afford shelters and have no means of sustenance,” he said.

He also expressed worry that educational institutions in the communities had been destroyed, with many buildings and other facilities completely burnt down, thereby making it absolutely difficult for the children of the affected communities to access educational facilities.

He expressed sadness that apart from destruction of schools, health centres were obviously non-existent to cater for the health needs of the affected communities as the few hitherto existing ones had  been lost to the hostilities.

This, he said, had increased the rate of mortality in the affected communities.

Jibrin said markets, business centres, shops and various business outfits in the affected communities had been completely destroyed.

This, he said, had resulted in an atmosphere of inevitable economic helplessness.

Contributing, Sen.Victor Umeh (LP – Anambra) said the nation was yet to curb the problem of attacks in communities.

“The attackers have no right to ravage any community, saying that actions should be taken for ranching of cattles in the country.

“We must find a way of banning migrant grazing and apprehend and prosecute killers.”

Sen.Adams Oshiomhole (APC -Edo) called for an ad hoc committee to organise public hearing to find a lasting solution to issue of farmers/herders conflict.

Sen.Titus Zam (APC-Benue) said the farmers / herders conflict had defiled all solutions, advising that senate should enact an open grazing prohibition law.

This, he said, would deter open grazing and encourage ranching of cattles.

The Senate observed a minute silence for the departed souls in the communities.

However, The House of Representatives has urged the Federal Government to beef up security in Yagba axis of Kogi West senatorial district of the state following the activities banditry and kidnapers.

The resolution followed the adoption of a motion of urgent public importance by Rep. Leke Abejide(ADC-Kogi) on the floor of the House In Abuja on Tuesday.

 

Presenting his motion, the lawmaker, he stated that comparable violent attacks and kidnappings had been occurring on a weekly basis, in the area.

 

He stated that two individuals were abducted from the residence of a prominent businessman and political figure named Mr David Joseph, an abduction that tragically resulted in the death of one of the victims.

 

He said the area had turned to epicentre of banditry and kidnapping, with criminals operating on a daily basis, leaving the local populace in a state of constant fear and despair.

 

Adopting the motion, the House urged the Federal Government to direct urgent attention and concentrated efforts towards the area.

 

The house urged the Chief of Defence Staff and the Inspector General of Police

 

to identify and profile each individual living in obscurity within the forests of the Yagba Federal Constituency.

 

It noted that lots of those living in that forest were non Nigerians and must be identified for security purposes.

 

The house further urged the IG-P to carry out a comprehensive mop-up of all arms, ammunition, AK-47, cutlasses, and other weapons in the possession of herders and individuals within the constituency.

 

It stated that there was a need to prohibit the public carrying such arms and weapons.

 

The house urged the Security Architecture, including the IG-P, Director General, DSS, the commandant General, NSCDC to comb Yagba forests and secure immediate release of victims and arrest the kidnappers.

 

The house also urged the Federal Government to set a comprehensive security strategy, in collaboration with local stakeholders to address the root causes of insecurity.

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