Letter To Defence Minister, By Aliyu Muhammad Kawaye
POLITICS DIGEST – The Minister of Defence, Bashir Salihi Magashi, should note with seriousness the banditry situation in some villages in Zamfara state, especially in Anka local government area, as humanitarian crises are looming. Bandits are in control of the whole area East and South of Anka. The area covers the districts of Wuya, Bagega, Kawaye, Bawar Daji and Sabon Birnin Banaga.
The area is blessed with thick forests which serve as haven for the criminals. The situation may not be unconnected with the withdrawal of security personnel from Wuya, Sumke and Kawaye following an attack on Sumke in which many soldiers were killed. The only sign of peace we have witnessed is a lull in kidnapping. The other crimes like rape, shooting sprees, raids, robbery, as well as rustling have continued unabated despite the shadowy “peace deal” of the state government, as areas that were never touched before the deal have now tasted the ordeals perpetrated by the bandits.
Kidnapping for ransom is back in full force as many people are currently in captivity and many villagers are taking refuge in Anka and other less severely affected areas. Therefore, the minister should as a matter of urgency set up an independent undercover panel to ascertain the true picture of the security situation in the state. Meanwhile, my understanding of the situation through previous and current administrations is that those responsible with furnishing the federal government with information on the situation are either influenced by those benefiting from the situation. So, they do not capture the true picture of the problem.
The first reason indicating that there may not be light at the end of the tunnel soon was that the Civilian JTF (Yan Sa Kai) were asked to drop and submit their locally made arms.
Meanwhile, bandits were allowed to continue to hold automatic weapons that only security personnel are permitted to hold. As time went on, the bandits started to hunt and kill leaders of vigilante groups. This was recently corroborated by a vigilante leader walked out of a meeting with government officials to protest what he termed “unfair treatment.” Of equal importance is that, now the activities of the bandits cover almost all the villages of the 14 local government areas of the state.
The current state government is still holding unto the “peace deal” while the bandits are controlling the rural areas, unleashing terror on a daily basis. Hon. Minister, please redeploy security personnel to the strategic areas of Wuya, Tungar Kudaku, Kawaye, Gobirawa, Bawar Daji and Sabon Birnin Banaga/Duhuwar Saulawa. The handful of security personnel at Bagega cannot contain the bandits who are in their multitudes. Farming is the major occupation of these occupied territories, and the rainy season is around the corner.
Aliyu Muhammad Kawaye, NTA, Kaura Namoda, Zamfara state