11.06.2024 Featured In One Week, Bandits Kill ‘Over 70 Farmers’ in 2 Katsina Villages

Published 11th Jun, 2024

By Opeyemi Lawal

About 70 farmers have been killed in two separate bandit attacks on Mabai and Yar Goje towns in the Kankara Local Government Area of Katsina State.

Jamil Mabai, a journalist and resident of the area, told FIJ that the attacks were unleashed by bandits who arrived at the towns’ farmlands on motorcycles and killed wantonly.

He stated that the farmers were killed in about three attacks organised by the bandits between Thursday and Sunday, after they were first repelled.

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“Last Thursday, around 8 am, farmers from Mabai town were in their farms, which they would usually go to in groups and in the company of the Katsina State Community Watch Corps (KSCWC), when three bandits arrived on three motorcycles,” Jamil told FIJ.

“The community was able to repel this attack through an intense gun battle, and after that, most of the farmers went back to their businesses. Unknown to them, the bandits went to re-strategise.

“They retreated only to return with 23 motorcycles and more members. What they did was divide themselves into groups and attack the farmers from vulnerable positions.

“The bandits took different routes. When the first batch came, they came with about seven motorcycles and began to shoot at the farmers. Unknown to them, there were more of the bandits coming from behind. When they attempted to escape, they were caught in the middle, and only a few of them were able to escape the attack, while about 20 were killed.”

Mabai said that on Sunday, a repeat of the attack happened in Yar Goje, a neighbouring town to Mabai and farming community, which left 50 farmers and a police officer dead.

“In Yar Goje, the farmers were also on their farmlands when the bandits came and started to shoot wildly. The community tried to repel the attack but ran out of ammunition,” said Mabai.

“A reinforcement came from the police regional office, the Nigerian Mobile Police (MOPOL) force unit, and some people said they were soon overpowered by the bandits.

“Some of the residents said the police tried to escape from the scene of the attack after they realised they were losing the war against the bandits but their car was stuck and the people who escaped did so on foot; however, the only police officer left in the vehicle was burnt by the bandits alongside the vehicle.

“Another version of the story stated that a bandit had sneaked under the police vehicle to detonate a bomb and when the police officers saw him, they ran away but one of the officers, who remained, was burnt to death.”

Mabai said the farmers, who majorly plant cash crops like maize, sorghum, millet, cotton, groundnut, etc., started going to their farms in groups three years earlier as a defence strategy against banditry in their communities.

“The farmers started going to their farms in groups three years ago because if one person went, such a person could be vulnerable to bandit attacks and be killed,” he said.

“They thought it was better to go in groups, as they would be stronger to resist the bandits’ attacks.

READ ALSO: Corps Member ‘Who Exposed Anambra Killer Cop and Organ Harvester’ Has Spent Over a Year in Prison — Accused Policeman Free

“Bandity in Katsina State has taken a new turn. In some places, bandits only ask for levies from community members in order not to attack them. This is better than the wanton killings by bandits who have no name or ideology. They just want to kill for the fun of it.”

The resident stated that in addition to the 50 deaths already ascertained, as of Tuesday morning, bodies were still being discovered.

When FIJ called Abubakar Sadiq, the spokesperson of the Katsina Police Command, for comments, he stated that only 26 people were killed in both attacks and that none of the bandits had been arrested.

“We have not made any arrest on the bandits, as we are still investigating the issue,” Sadiq said.

“However, we recorded 26 deaths in all. Out of the 26, 20 are farmers, two are members of the Nigerian Police Force, and the remaining two are members of the KSCWC.”

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Published 11th Jun, 2024

By Opeyemi Lawal


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