21st CENTURY CHRONICLE’s analysis of media reportsrevealed that the bandits accomplished this devilish feat from July 9 to July 18, leaving analysts as well as security agents perplexed.
This is coming despite President Muhammadu Buhari’s stern warning to the bandits that he would soon start speaking to them in a language they understand, having earlier warned them not to test his patience.
Curiously, while citizens and security forces are counting their losses, authorities in the state are busy politicking as Governor Bello Matawalle, having defected from PDP to APC at a lavish event attended by nearly a dozen state governors, is busy mobilising state lawmakers to impeach his deputy, Mahdi Aliyu Gusau, for refusing to cross carpet with him.
The downing of the Nigerian fighter jet by the bandits, though unprecedented, is fueling speculations of likely alliance between the bandits and Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists.
Ten days of rage
JULY 9: Over 40 people were killed when bandits launched multiple attacks on five communities in the state. They attacked five communities in Faru district of Maradun Local Government Area.
JULY 11: Provost of the College of Agriculture and Animal Science, Bakura, Alhaji Habibu Mainasara, was abducted.
21st CENTURY CHRONICLE reports that those abducted alongside the provost were Kabiru Usman, a staff of Government Science Secondary School, Bakura, and a local from Sabon Gari village, Mustapha Sarkin Tasha. The provost was released some days ago after payment of ransom.
Bakura is the hometown of the first civilian Governor of the state, Ahmad Sani Yarima; while Maradun is where Governor Matawalle hails from.
JULY 14: Bandits invaded Gumi and raped dozens women in exchange for their families’ safety. The bandits stormed the villages in Gwalli ward, taking advantage of the vulnerable women who were forced to succumb to the lust of the bandits just to spare the lives of their husbands and children.
JULY 17: A bandit group, known as Turji, abducted over 150 villagers and travelers in Shinkafi local government over the recent arrest of its leader’s father by security agents.
The gang leader’s father was arrested by security operatives in Kano about two weeks ago, but his whereabouts are yet unknown.
The villages attacked by the bandits include Kurya, Keta, Kware, Badarawa, Marisuwa and Maberaya, among others.
The bandit leader also vowed to stop people from performing the Sallah, if his father was not released to perform Sallah with his family. He freed the hostages after security agencies released his father.
JULY 18: At least 13 policemen and three villagers were murdered when bandits attacked Kurar Mota community in Bungudu local government area.
About seven other policemen were also wounded during the attack. The bandits invaded Kurar Mota community and attacked the police formation near the township clinic.
JULY 18: Bandits shot down a Nigerian Air Force Alpha Jet aircraft in a village in Zamfara. NAF officials said the aircraft was returning from a successful interdiction mission between the boundaries of Zamfara and Kaduna State.
Luckily, the pilot, Flight Lieutenant Abayomi Dairo, successfully ejected from the aircraft, took refuge in a village before he was rescued. Security officials said more than 120 bandits were killed during the air raid in Zamfara forests.
Even though the banditry now ravaging most of the North western and several North Central states started in Zamfara State nearly ten years ago, the situation improved for a time in 2019 and 2020 due to Governor Matawalle’s dialogue with bandit leaders. Bandit attacks then spread to Katsina, Kaduna, Niger and parts of Sokoto and Kebbi states, but in recent weeks Zamfara is the centre of bandit attacks all over again.