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100 People Feared Dead, Others Injured As Rival Bandits Clash In Katsina

January 28, 2021

According to sources, Sarki, a repentant bandit who accepted the government’s amnesty, has since been seen as an outcast by many other bandits in the forests.

Over 100 people are feared dead in Katsina State after a clash between two bandit groups at Illela village in the Safana Local Government Area of the state.

The clash between the Mani Sarki camp and Dankarami, supported by Abu Rada camp, last Thursday also left many injured. 


According to sources, Sarki, a repentant bandit who accepted the government’s amnesty, has since been seen as an outcast by many other bandits in the forests.

It was gathered that his acceptance of the amnesty forced Sarki to relocate to Illela village to start a new life, though some of his men refused to move with him.

A source said: “Some bandits led by one Dan Da from Alhaji Dankarami gang had carried out an attack in Illela area, but the other gang repelled them, causing them to abandon their weapons, including anti-aircraft gun which were all taken away by the attackers as booty. That infuriated them and they’ve not forgotten it.

“Secondly, a younger brother of Sarki Mani had, at one time, kidnapped the wife of one of the men from the Dangwate side and he was paid N500,000 ransom before he released her.

Other sources said Sarki’s younger brother, identified as Chirwa, and his wife, were killed while three others, Kabiru, Tanimu, Suleiman were injured and presently receiving treatment in Katsina town.

The factors outlined above were said to have contributed to the buildup of hostilities and fuelled enmity between both factions, Daily Trust reported. 

It was also gathered that the Sarki-led faction had prevented some bandits from entering the area to carry out attacks.

According to reports, Dankarami, Dangwate and Mai Komi launched a reprisal to retrieve their anti-aircraft gun, said to be worth N5m.

They were said to have entered Illela area around 5pm last Thursday in large numbers. According to some residents, there were more than 300 armed men.

Sources said on their arrival, they began shooting indiscriminately in the village unknown to them that the Sarki-led gang was already aware of their mission.

Another source, however, said it was a clash of interests between those in support of a peace deal with the government and those against it.

The source said, “One of the Sarki-led members, Mani, who is in favour of a peace deal has left the forest and settled in Illela but did not surrender his weapons to the government. So, he is one of the targets of those who are not in favour of the peace deal.

“So, what brought the Dangwate faction to Illela was to get that man. When they came, they began a house-to-house search in the bid to get him.

“When they got to the house of Sarkin Pawa Mu’azu, who is the leader of butchers, they found a Dane gun and suspected that he was amongst the vigilantes, who they consider as enemies.

“He told them he was not a vigilante but they shot and killed him.

“They also injured four other persons: Kabiru, Tanimu, Nuhu and Sulaiman in the village, and they are now receiving treatment in a hospital.”

The source said the attackers spent about eight hours operating in the village, setting vehicles and shops ablaze, and carting away many valuables, but without accomplishing their mission of getting Mani, their target.

It was said that they went back to the forest and engaged the Dankarami-led gang and killed scores of them. Some said more than 100 persons were killed, including children.

“Dankarami himself only narrowly escaped death because he was shot in the hand,” a source said.

On whether there was security presence during the incident, the source said the security personnel did not intervene because they knew it was a fight between bandits and not with the community members.

The police spokesman in Katsina, Gambo Isah, said an investigation was ongoing.