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How Zamfara Killings Are Driven By Governor Yari's Unfulfilled Electoral Pact With Islamic Bandits By Erasmus Ikhide

September 17, 2018

Several years running, Zamfara has witnessed unprecedented scale of mass murder of unimaginable proportion, day after day, without corresponding response from security architecture, comprising the strong force of police, soldiers and Air force team put together by the federal and state governments.


Several years' of concerted investigation into the systematic and wanton slaughtering of indigenes of Zamfara State has revealed how Governor Abdul'aziz Abubakar Yari's refusal to fulfill electoral promises made to local and foreign mercenaries from Niger Republic who helped to furnished terror during his first and second term electioneering is fuelling the endless carnage and massacres in the state.

A source who craves anonymity alleged that Governor Yari purposely armed the dreaded Islamic bandits terrorising the state from Niger Republic and their local counterparts within the state to ensure his victory at the polls mainly in the 2011 governorship bid against Governor Mahmud Shinkafi of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

"The relentless killings that enveloped Zamfara State is as a result of the Governor Abubakar Yari's politics of survival that brought him to power in 2011 when he enlisted the help of local and foreign mercenaries from Niger Republic to assist him in winning the election with a promise to nominate some of their leaders into major cabinet position which he never fulfilled to date", he said.

Several years running, Zamfara has witnessed unprecedented scale of mass murder of unimaginable proportion, day after day, without corresponding response from security architecture, comprising the strong force of police, soldiers and Air force team put together by the federal and state governments.

The latest military efforts at routing the militia led to the killing of twenty-one bandits on April 5th, eight of them were reportedly killed on May 11th in an exchange of gunfire in Maru Local Government and sixty eight of the terrorists were subsequently killed and seventeen motorcycles were recovered on May 21st, while only six suspects were arrested.

The Brigade Commander, 1 Army Brigade Command Sokoto, Brig.-Gen. Udeagbala Kennedy disclosed this while handing over the six suspected kidnappers to the state Commissioner of Police Mr Kenneth Ebrimson at the State Police headquarters in Gusau, the state capital. He recalled bandits attacked in Birane and Bawar-Daji villages in Anka and Zurmi Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the state in February and April led to the death of 64 people.

“The Nigerian Army and other security agencies commenced clearance operation to rid out all the bandits and curtail the banditry activities in the state.

“Today military and other security agencies were able to carry out successful operation in all nooks and crannies of the state which led to the success recorded.

“During the period, a number of casualties on banditry activities were recorded as follows, a total 68 bandits were killed between the first week of April to date and unfortunately we lost two of our gallant men – Capt. Muhammad and Private Mijinyawa.

“Apart from the 17 recovered motorcycles from the killed and fleeing bandits, we also apprehended six suspected kidnappers and one-gun runner.

“I am directed by the Army headquarters to hand over the suspects and the motorcycles to the state Commissioner of Police and Director, Department of State Service (DSS) for further investigation and I hope these activities will lead to the arrest of their colleagues,” he added.

The merest recorded successes of the combined force of the armed forces is nothing to be compared to the swirls of terror and organised mass murderer that has been recorded since Governor Yari mounted power on May 29, 2011. The numbers of victims who fell to the swords of the rampaging local and foreign mercenaries of Governor Yari's alleged blood merchants have been conservatively put at 5,000. And over 50,000 persons have been made destitute in IDP camps where women are subjected to rape before given food and little children are starving to death as reported by several sources.

On April 20, 2014, about 150 people killed at that weekend by invading gunmen in Unguwar Galadima village in Maru Local Government Area of the State were given a mass burial. The bodies of the victims were interred on Sunday at a ceremony attended by Governor Alhaji Abdulaziz Yari himself. Over 215 persons were said to have been killed in the attack on the people who were holding a meeting of vigilante groups to review the security situation in the area when the gunmen struck.

Speaking at the funeral, Yari, who led a delegation of the state government to the ceremony, expressed shock and sadness over the incident without proffering solution to the mindless killings — going forward. He merely wondered: "how such a heinous act could happen in broad daylight without any help from the security operatives".

In February this year, more than 30 people were buried in Bawan Daji village of the state, following an attack on the village by gunmen, which sources say left about 60 people dead. Reports say, the attack came after village vigilante group, strategised on security measures against the bandits, especially as the 2018 farming season approaches.

The bandits had threatened the villagers that there would be no farming activities in the area, in the 2018 farming season until they're settled by the Governor. A week after, the neighbouring villages recorded over 300 dead; houses set alight — carried out by militias with nearly a thousand motorcycles ridding bandits, brandishing AK47s — uninterrupted!

“It was shortly after our local vigilante members held the meeting that the bandits finally struck and killed only men including those who tried to escape,” said Liman Umar, deputy Imam of the village, in a chat with journalists, adding that the bandits had been harassing people in the area, brandishing sophisticated weapons with impunity.

Mr. Umar said many bodies were found decomposing in the bushes, and that some of the corpses could not be brought into the village for a proper burial because people were afraid to go and get them as the bandits were believed to be hiding on the outskirts of the village.

He said one of the villagers, Danladi Shabalai, who was caught communicating with the bandits, was shot and killed by security men. Chairman of Anka Local Government, Mustapha Gado, confirmed that 32 persons were buried including a woman and her child who died at a hospital in Gusau. Mr. Gado said more bodies were still being searched for in the bushes and that security measures had been stepped up in the area, but that the villagers had all ran away out of fear that the bandits might return.

Police spokesman, Muhammad Shand, also confirmed the attack when he told journalists, “Armed bandits attacked Bawon-Daji village yesterday and killed 15 people,”

The Senator representing the area, Kabiru Marafa (APC, Zamfara Central), has accused Zamfara State Governor of covering up recurring killings in the state. Mr. Marafa told the Senate plenary repeatedly that in the latest attack, the bandits held two villages hostage for more than 24 hours.

“Such incident happens almost every day in Zamfara. What is more worrisome about it is the fact that the local authorities do not want anybody to say it. They don’t report it. The local radio doesn’t report it. The local newspaper doesn’t report anything.

“Women are being snatched from their husbands. Just two weeks ago, a bride was snatched from her husband and from a marriage that was just two weeks old. She was raped and hospitalised,” he said.

It seems the Zamfara killings has defied solution. Governors of the four States around the killing field met last year on how to improve security in the area, but activities of the bandits have continued unabated. Not too long after their meeting, the militias who move in convoys of several hundreds of motorcycles at interval killed several more hundreds of innocent citizens and many more soldiers stationed in flashpoints in the state — unreported.

The scary revelation on the involvement of Governor Abdul'aziz Abubakar Yari's of Zamafara State is mind-numbing. This is a governor who is notorious for ferrying state's resources and security votes to buying houses for himself in the U. S rather than fix security crises plaguing his state, which he allegedly choreographed for political ends.

Governor Yari is not bothered that Zamfara State is the only state in Nigeria where 128 children registered and sat for West African Examination Council (WAEC) in 2018, in a state of about five million people. The state's resources Governor Yari has trousered in the last seven-year-plus is enough to tackle dreadful terrorism, poverty, unemployment, diseases, illiteracy, ignorance, and inequality that have put tweaking Zamfara state on the verge of collapse.

This should have prinked the consciousness of President Muhammadu Buhari and the APC-led government whose claim to the nation's presidency is supposedly built around security, anti-corruption and economic stability.

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