When Fleeing Bandit-Terrorists Attack Defenseless ‘Soft Targets‘
By Mukhtar Ya’U Madobi
EMERGENCY DIGEST- Recently, the Nigerian Military has continued to sustain onslaught against the bandits terrorists and other criminal elements raging havoc in the northwestern region especially around Sokoto and Zamfara axes.
These efforts have obviously recorded remarkable success as several bandits’ kingpins and their followers were eliminated, while a host of others became incapacitated due to injuries inflicted on them. In addition to that, their enclaves were subsequently destroyed.
The recent killings of two notorious bandits’ leaders in persons of Alhaji Auta and Kachalla Ruga by the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) fighter jets on the first day of new year are testimony to prove the renewed military onslaught and their determination towards ending their [bandits] heinous acts.
This development has no doubt served as befitting new year’s gifts to Nigerians by the gallant troops. It also demonstrate hope that, the military are relentless towards containing the situation.
It was noted that the ongoing offensives have apparently forced bandits terrorists to abandon their hideouts and migrate to other areas.
However, it is disheartening and worrisome thaat while fleeing from the military offensives in Zamfara, bandit terrorists descended on soft targets and killed locals on their escaping routes. Even women and childrens were not spared of this atrocity as many of them were burned to death and others were equally murdered.
Some of the communities attacked include Barayar Zaki, Rafin Gero,Tungar Isa, Rafin Danya and Kurfa in Bukkuyum and Anka local government areas of Zamfara state.
Reports indicated that, not less than 200 defenseless people were massacred by these dislodged bandits terrorists while on their escape routes.
PRNigeria gathered that while the reluctant and panicky bandits are attacking communities along Anka and Bukkuyum axes of Zamfara State, some bandit leaders at Shinkafi and Tsafe areas have sent emissaries to the authorities, seeking peace.
Meanwhile, reports showed that the military intelligence operatives have been aiding the release of captives from enclaves of bandit leaders willing to embrace peace.
Recalls that, after crack down on his camp and neutralizing score of his followers, the notorious wanted bandits’ kingpin, Bello Turji has recently released about 52 kidnapped victims under his custody. This is geared towards his effort to make peace and enjoy amnesty from the government.
It is evident that bandits in Zamfara State have been in panic moods due to the consistent aerial attacks from the Nigerian Military after the government officially proscribed them as terrorists. This has given the military a nod to deploy full force against them in Zamfara and other northern states thereby using all the available war equipment and techniques within their disposal.
Amidst this rampage by the bandits terrorists, locals confirmed to Daily Trust that fighter jets of the NAF were dispatched to the under sieged area on a rescue mission, but could not achieve a lot because after sensing danger, the terrorists quickly blended into the civilian population.
Another source said the terrorists used the people as human shields, making it difficult for the fighter jet to bomb them.
“It was at night that they disappeared because it was practically impossible for the fighter jet to attack them,” he said.
While condemning the Zamfara massacre by the escaping bandits, President Muhammadu Buhari expressed outrage and promised to bring these perpetrators to justice and ensure everlasting peace in Zamfara state and Nigeria at large.
He said; “The latest attacks on innocent people by the bandits is an act of desperation by mass murderers, now under relentless pressure from our military forces who are well equipped to effectively confront these enemies of humanity.
“In keeping with my commitment to tackle the monster of terrorism head on, let me reassure these besieged communities and other Nigerians that this government will not abandon them to their fate because we are more than ever determined to get rid of these outlaws.
“The army and the air force are working together to get rid of these callous criminals as they acquire more equipment to track down and eliminate criminal gangs that are subjecting innocent people to the reign of terror, including illegal imposition of taxes on the communities under siege.”
On its part, an Islamic human rights organisation, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), through its Director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, described Zamfara killings as callous, disheartening, horrific and barbaric. He therefore called on military to sustain their efforts in decimating the bandits and equally enjoyed government to do every thing possible to hold these terrorists accountable to their actions.
“The killings are believed to be reprisal attacks carried out in revenge for terrorists killed during air raids by the Nigerian military fighter jets last week.
“This killing of unarmed civilians should not discourage the military. It merely shows that the bandits are feeling the pressure. We call for more pounding from the air. Terrorists must have no place to hide. They must be hounded from pillar to post until they all surrender or they are totally eliminated. Nigeria will not be defeated by sadistic renegades, rebellious subjects and enemies of peace, he said.
In another development, troops on clearance patrol in Giwa LGA of Kaduna state have also successfully eliminated five bandits while scheming plan to attack the community.
The commissioner for internal security and home affairs in the state, Samuel Aruwan revealed that the troops made a sharp and proactive response after receiving a credible intelligence about the bandits’ movement.
So, now that the bandits are on the run due to sustained military anti-banditry operations and eventually taking cover by melting into the civilian populace to avoid airstrikes, information and intelligence gatherings as well as subsequent sharing is very critical at this juncture. This is necessary in order to flush out and separate the criminals from the law abiding citizens.
To that effect, Nigerian military and other security agencies should collaborate with members of the communities including the neighborhood watch in the areas of information gathering and sharing towards surmounting the security challenges currently bedevilling the country.
Mukhtar is a Staff Writer with Emergency Digest.