Over four months after Kaduna state government ruled out negotiation with bandits and kidnappers for the release of victims, the hoodlums struck again in Kajuru local government area of the state and abducted the Emir of Kajuru, Alhaji Alhassan Adamu, his aides and three grandchildren in Kajuru palace.
Confirming the development, the state police command said the incident happened early Sunday morning.
Similarly, gunmen also kidnapped a clinical psychologist and her three children in a Zaria suburb-Shika-in Giwa local government area of the state Saturday night.
At the height of the twin criminality of banditry and kidnapping in the state April, the Governor Nasir el-Rufai-led government declared it would not negotiate for the release of abducted persons in the state.
The state government also threatened to prosecute persons doing so in any capacity.
Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs Samuel Aruwan had made the government’s position known in a statement.
He said: “The attention of the Kaduna State Government under the leadership of Governor Nasir El-Rufai has been drawn to reports in the media that it has appointed representatives to interface with bandits on its behalf.
“The Kaduna State Government hereby clarifies firmly that such intermediaries have never been appointed.
“The position of the Kaduna State Government remains the same: the government will not negotiate with or pay ransoms to bandits.
“Any person who claims to do so in any capacity, if found, will be prosecuted accordingly.
“Citizens are urged to report the details of any persons posing as official government negotiators to the Kaduna State Security Operations Room on 09034000060 and 08170189999, or email [email protected]”
And between the time of the government’s declaration and now, a substantial number of persons had been kidnapped while others were killed.
The most recent attacks was that at Bethel Secondary School Kaduna where some unspecified number of students and staff were abducted and yet to be released as at the time of this report.
And further to this, the governor has consistently insisted “we’re not just saying we’ll not negotiate with bandits, we try to track them, engage them using military force. We know it’s risky, we know in the process we may lose some the students.”
But despite government’s position, the hoodlums have continued to attack settlements and abduct innocent residents, the latest of which was the early Sunday abduction the Kajuru monarch and some others.
Speaking to Blueprint in a telephone interview Sunday morning, the state’s
Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Muhammed Jalige said the second class monarch was abducted.
Jalige said: “Yes, it is true. The Emir was abducted alongside 10 other persons, not 12 persons.”
He added that a manhunt by police operatives and other security agencies has already been launched to rescue the Emir and others unhurt.
Narrating how the attack was carried out, a palace source told journalists that the gunmen stormed the Emir’s residence around 12:00am Sunday shooting sporadically.
The source added that the gunmen whisked away 12 other persons, including family members, women, children and aides of the Emir.
In yet another account, it was gathered that three women, two of whom were the Emir’s grand children, three of his aides were among those kidnapped.
The source further said “just a day before the incident, the Emir summoned a security meeting about a potential ploy to kidnap him but unfortunately no action was taken by the authorities to prevent the attack.”
Kajuru Emirate is about 30 minutes away from Kaduna town.
Psychologist, 3 children
In a related development, gunmen attacked Milgoma near Shika, Giwa local government area of Kaduna state, kidnapping a clinical psychologist, Mrs Jummai Suleiman and her three children.
Mrs Sulaiman works with Department of Psychiatry, Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, Zaria.
The gunmen broke the wall of Jummai’s residence around 9:00pm Saturday to forcefully enter the house, mother of 3, namely Abdullateef (10 years), Amina (6 years), and 4-year-old Abdulrahman.
No one is safe anymore – Sani
The former lawmaker, who represented Kaduna Central Senatorial District in the 8th assembly, was reacting to the abduction of the Emir of Kajuru, Alhaji Alhassan Adamu, and 12 members of his family.
He tweeted: “Emir of Kajuru, 30 minutes drive from Kaduna and twelve of his family members were forcefully kidnapped yester night.
“The bandits operated freely for one hour in my Kaduna State. Nowadays, it is no more about who is safe but who is the next victim.”
Also, the emir’s grandson, Saidu Musa said “gunmen stormed the palace around 12.30am and took his Royal Highness and twelve members of his family.”
Provost in Zamfara
Also, the reign of lawlessness continued in Zamfara state where the Provost College of Agriculture Bakura, headquarters of Bakura local government area of the state, Malam Habib Mainasara, was kidnapped 2.30am Sunday at his official quarters.
Mainsara was until the abduction, staying at Government Science Secondary School Bakura where he was before his appointment as provost.
He was billed to move to the college campus next week, Blueprint gathered.
Speaking to one of our correspondent on the telephone, the deputy register of the college, Malam Aliyu Atiku Bakura, said upon arriving the provost’s residence, the bandits seized all his cell phones, including that of his wife and other valuable items, broke the windscreen of his car while searching for where he kept money inside, and later kidnapped him along with one Malam Kabiru Muhammed, a teacher in the secondary school.
The provost was appointed April by Governor Bello Mohammed Matawalle.
Confirming the development to Blueprint on the telephone, the provost’s younger brother, Malam Nasiru Mainasara said the family was yet to establish any contact with the captors.
He said the matter had been reported to Zamfara state Police Command and Department of State Services (DSS) for prompt response.
Nasiru also called on the state government and security agencies to do assist in rescuing his brother unharmed.
Also, the police image maker in the state, SP Muhammad Shehu said already, the tactical operation rescue team of the state command had been deployed to the area to ensure rescue of the victims safely.
“As I am talking to you now, Zamfara State Police Command under the leadership of CP Hussaini Rabiu, deployed Police Tactical operatives attached to “Operation Restore Peace” to the area with a mandate to rescue the kidnapped victims hale and hearty,” Shehu stated.
MBF calls for state of emergency
And deeply worried by the ugly security situation in the country, especially Kaduna, the Middle Belt Forum (MBF) has called on the federal government to impose a state of emergency on the state in order to stem the tide from degenerating into anarchy.
Communities across various local government areas in the state have come under unending severe attacks resulting in gruesome massacres, raping of women, destruction of property, incessant kidnappings made worse by huge payments of ransom to secure release of abducted persons and displacement of thousands of people out of their homelands.
In a press statement issued to newsmen, Sunday, National President of the Forum, Dr Pogu Bitrus said: “While the scenario has become the new norm in Kaduna State, the political authorities seem either incapable of dealing with these security challenges or deliberately unwilling to stop the recurring bloody tide headlong, thereby suggesting complicity on their part.”
The statement said “the attacks by the killer herdsmen and Fulani kidnappers on defenceless communities have led to massive displacement of people from their ancestral lands, thereby creating a catastrophic humanitarian crisis situation and rendering farmers unable to access their farmlands for agricultural activities.
“Current attacks on schools have also led to the withdrawal of pupils and students from schools or outright closure of such schools. The negative consequences of these on education and food security can only be imagined.
“On the other hand, kidnappers have taken over all the routes linking Kaduna State to other parts of the country where they have continued to unleash terror on road users. These criminals are not only engaged in abducting farmers from their farmlands, but have also resorted to breaking homes at night to abduct people.
“Sometimes, members of an entire family are kidnapped and herded into the forest where relatives of victims are forced to pay unimaginable amounts of money in ransom. Oftentimes, some abducted persons are killed even after such ransoms are paid. This trend has triggered massive relocation of residents who now abandon homes they had built with retirement entitlements and now squat in crowded neighbourhoods only waiting to be further invaded.
“In recent instances, two nurses were abducted from the Idon General Hospital in Kajuru LGA of Kaduna State on April 22, 2021 and are yet to be released even after the payment of N10 million to the kidnappers. On Monday, July 5, 2021, these daredevil kidnappers who have become brazen also launched an attack on the National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Centre in Zaria where they abducted 10 persons, including five nurses, infants and their mothers,” MBF further added.
Dateline of attacks, killings
Below is the list of attacks, abduction and killings across Kaduna state as detailed by the Forum:
On May 21 2021, about 77 members of the Libere community (including women and children) in Kajuru LGA were abducted when they returned to their ancestral land after taking refuge in an Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp since May 2020. This incident has never had any mention from the regular security updates routinely issued by the government of Kaduna State. As it stands, the abductors are demanding N350 million as ransom.
At the weekend, Warka village in Zangon Kataf LGA was attacked and nine persons, including four children, three women were killed just as no fewer than 13 homes were completely razed down. Before the weekend, Kiboro village in the same local government area came under attack on Wednesday. A widow and her three children were slaughtered by the murderers.
Again, on Friday June 21, 2021, Ungwan Madaki community in Chikun LGA, an outskirts of Kaduna, was attacked by these cold-blooded criminals who killed two persons and kidnapped 26 others, including infants. Four of the victims have been killed over inability to pay the ransom, while 22 persons are still languishing in the den of their captors.
Before then, two lecturers with six students from the Nuhu Polytechnic Zaria were abducted and were only released on Friday after the payment of huge ransoms for their release. The Afaka students’ abduction on March 11, 2021 and the murder of five undergraduates of Greenfield students in the last week of April, 2021 and the payment of N200 million by poor parents to secure release of the undergraduates have become reference points in portraying the daring expedition of these callous criminals that have made our communities not only unsafe but poorer.
Most disturbing is the recent abduction of over 120 students of Bethel Baptist High School in Damishi that is located in the outskirts of Kaduna. These minors are still being held captive in the forest with no food, shelter or medication. This new wave of attacking schools by the bandits appeared to be in the agenda of Boko Haram and is aimed at frustrating the education of future generations upon whose shoulders lie the future greatness of our nation.
The most worrisome is the attitude of Governor Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai towards tackling the security challenges confronting the state. While he has refused to negotiate with kidnappers, he has also not done anything to secure these weak communities against further attacks on vulnerable communities. More than anytime, Governor el-Rufai has continued to provoke bandits through unguarded utterances that have further enraged them to unleash more terror attacks on various communities.
Arising from the glaring failures by Governor el-Rufai to protect lives and property, the MBF is calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to declare a state of emergency on Kaduna state as the governor has shown gross incapacity to maintain peace. We call on security forces to create necessary synergies with attacked communities through the establishment of local vigilante groups to track down these criminals that have declared war on our people.
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