Residents of Zurmi town in the Zurmi Local Government Area of Zamfara State are pleading for assistance in the face of relentless attacks by bandits on the community and its surroundings,Daily Trust reports.
Over the past week alone, assailants have targeted the town four times, resulting in three fatalities, the abduction of 16 individuals, and the destruction of a police outpost along with two military operational vehicles. Notorious leaders of the bandits, namely Sani Black and Sani Dan Karami, are reported to be orchestrating these attacks.
The bandits initially struck Nasarawar Zurmi on the outskirts of Zurmi town, claiming one life, abducting three individuals, and destroying a police outpost. Subsequently, they returned to the town on Monday, prompting residents to alert the soldiers. Nine residents were reportedly kidnapped, and one person resisting abduction was killed. The bandits made another attempt on Tuesday, engaging in a gun duel with soldiers for two-and-a-half hours.
Residents attribute the bandit attacks to the recovery of stolen animals by the military, particularly from the gang led by Sani Black. Seeking revenge, the bandits unleashed multiple attacks, kidnapping 12 people. Residents reveal that the bandits are targeting the community for ransom, exploiting the recent harvest season when villagers are likely to have resources.
Survivors recount harrowing experiences, with one resident narrowly escaping the bandits during an attack. Despite the military’s deployment, concerns are raised about potential civilian casualties if airstrikes are employed while bandits use locals as shields.
In response to the escalating violence, the Médecins sans Frontières (MSF), a humanitarian organization providing healthcare services at Zurmi General Hospital, has temporarily suspended its operations due to security concerns. The organization cites violent clashes near the hospital compound, making it challenging to guarantee the safety of patients and staff.
The Zamfara State government acknowledges the unfortunate and barbaric attacks, pledging to address the menace of banditry. The government plans to deploy additional security personnel and engage 4,200 security guards to complement the efforts of the military and other security agencies in combating banditry. Despite the government’s assurances, residents remain fearful and uncertain about the security situation in Zurmi.