Bandits affiliated with Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists are bypassing the ongoing shutdown of telecommunication in Zamfara, FIJ can report.
On September 4, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) directed telecommunication service providers to shut down activities in the state due to lingering insecurity.
Although the move was effective in the first few days of the shutdown, residents have told FIJ that said bandits have adapted to the situation.
On Friday, the police in the state said they had discovered an illegal cyber network. Ayuba Elkanah, the state’s commissioner of police, said the network was used by bandit collaborators to communicate with their partners to perpetrate evil.
FIJ understands that the terrorists have continued to wreak havoc despite the recent blockade and claims of success by the military. Residents confirmed to FIJ that the terrorists had attacked eight villages in the Shinkafi Local Government Area of the state on Monday, killing dozens of innocent citizens and abducting over 400.
In Gurbi, a town in Zurmi Local Government Area of Zamfara, residents groaned over a spike in killings and abductions of villagers. Some of them narrated how a military helicopter landed in their village, spraying bullets on defenceless villagers.
“We saw a helicopter, and it dropped on the outskirts of the town, behind Kuka Mezuma,” one resident said.
“Immediately they landed, they started shooting. As I am talking to you, 10 people are already hospitalised because of the shooting. And we don’t even know how many people have run away.
“They came around 5pm. And we don’t know the whereabouts of some. They carried out their operation and it lasted for about 2 hours. They went from house to house in Gurbi and burnt up to ten cars.”
Some of the residents, who left Zamfara for Sokoto, said the bandits have abducted more villagers despite military presence. They called on the government of the state to come to their aid.
“We are calling on the people in government to assist us because we elected them,” another resident said. “We want them to be accountable to us. And if they’re not willing to serve the public, they should come out and say it.”
On September 13, a group of gunmen killed 12 security personnel comprising nine naval ratings, two policemen and a soldier during a raid on the military base in Mutumji, near Dansadau town.
FIJ learned from military sources in the state that the bandits took advantage of the lack of security communication gadgets to lay siege on troops at the Mutumji base. FIJ also gathered that most bandits have fled to places like Tureta, Tabgaza and Kebbe, in Sokoto, to bypass the telecommunication blockade.
The military has remained bullish in its talks, though, with Daily Trust quoting amilitary source as saying: “I cannot confirm to you the veracity of that isolated case, but what I can tell you is that we are all out against the bandits. They are on the receiving end, and enormous clearance operations are ongoing.”
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