MEN of the fundamentalist militant organisation, Ansaru, on Thursday killed scores of bandits in Damari, a village in Birnin Gwari Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
The Ansaru terrorists were said to have, on Wednesday, made a surprise return to Damari, which was under their occupation before they left for an unknown destination in July.
During the organisation’s absence, the bandits reportedly had a field day repeatedly invading the village and surrounding communities and killing and abducting the residents.
Tribune Online gathered that the bandit attacks forced hundreds of the hapless residents to flee to other towns and villages.
However, with the recent military onslaught on Birnin Gwari forests, many of the bandits moved to other areas in Niger, Zamfara and Katsina states. In an interview with Saturday Tribune on Friday, the chairman of the Birnin Gwari Emirate Progressive Union (BEPU), Ishaq Usman Kasai, confirmed that the terror group was back in Damari.
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Kasai said: “Ansaru members returned to the Damari area two days ago (Wednesday). They clashed with some bandits who were passing by yesterday (Thursday) evening in the town and seized four persons, two males and two females, from them.
“They also killed many of the bandits. The bodies of the slain bandits and their motorcycles are still inside Damari town.”
He said the Ansaru terrorists, in their numbers, were now in the town, noting that “the residents have started leaving the town because they are not sure of what would be their lot with their presence.”
Meanwhile, BEPU has disclosed that bandits levied three communities in the area N12 million before they were permitted to continue to harvest their crops.
The union, in a statement by Kasai, said: “The bandits informed some farming communities, including Kwaga, Kwanan-Shehu, Unguwan Liman and Unguwan Shekarau, to pay levies amounting to N12 million (N3 million each) in order for them to be allowed to continue harvesting their crops.
“These communities were given till today (Friday), 30/9/2022, to meet the condition, failure of which the bandits vowed to kidnap any persons found on farms. “The union found that these helpless communities have started making contributions based on farm size to meet the condition and the dateline. “We are therefore appealing to the Nigerian government to come to the aid of the helpless farming communities of Birnin-Gwari in order to allow them access to their farms and harvest their crops without any harm or intimidation.
“Birnin-Gwari Emirate Progressive Union (BEPU) regrets to report that as farmers begin to harvest their crops, armed bandits intensify their attacks and impose levies on some farming communities in BirninGwari Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
“The union updates that, the six people kidnapped at farm centre on Saturday (24/9/2022) who were of Kwaga community, were released yesterday, Wednesday (28/9/2022), after providing to the bandits 20 Mudu of rice, 20 Mudu of beans, 25 litres of red oil, 25 litres of groundnut oil and recharge card of N10,000.
“Also, the four people of Unguwan Liman who were kidnapped on Saturday (24/9/2022) and one at Unguwan Shekarau, were released yesterday, Wednesday after payment of N2 million and N500,000 respectively.
“The union is however pleased to report that the five farmers earlier kidnapped on Thursday, 15/9/2022, at Kurgin Gabas and Sabon-Layi areas, luckily escaped from the kidnappers’ den in the early hours of Friday (22/9/2022) after spending a week in captivity.
“Regrettably, a farmer was killed at Shiwaka community on Tuesday (27/9/2022) after being tied to a tree; and more than 20 people were kidnapped yesterday (Wednesday, 28/9/2022) at different farms in Jangali and Kwaga areas.”