Armed bandits operating in Zurmi Local Government Area of Zamfara State have allegedly demanded the sum of N10 million as a fine from some communities under their control.
A BBC special report, Hausa Service monitored on Thursday, by TheCaveat.info reveals that the bandits demanded the money after a reconciliation meeting held between the people of the communities and the representatives of the bandits’ group in a community at the neighbouring Shinkafi Local Government Area of the state.
A source hinted that the bandits sought a reconciliation meeting with the people of Yanbuki and its neighbouring communities in Zurmi and the communities accepted to end the constant threat and intimidation by the armed bandits.
Continuing, the source explained that the recent attack launched by the bandits in the Yanbuki community on Saturday where more than 35 persons, who were standing by the road site awaiting a vehicle, were kidnapped.
The BBC Hausa Service said that the reconciliation meeting took place at a village called “Kuryar Kware” and was attended by the majority of the residents of Yanbuki, and its neighbouring communities.
According to the source who is from the Yanbuki community, “after realizing that all effort to get the government and security agencies to secure the axis failed we had no option than to accept the reconciliation meeting, and they have demanded the payment of N10 million fine for peace to reign,” the source said.
The source said that the communities affected have accepted to pay the sum for them to breathe the air of freedom.
He puts the name of the communities as Yanbuki, Tsaka, Maduba, Askawa, Ganda Samu, Dillin Fulani and Kafan Dutsi, saying that the people from these villages were those who participated in the reconciliation meeting and accepted to pay.
According to the BBC Hausa Service, the bandits demanded that the residents of Yanbuki village should pay for the ransom of the 68 persons that were kidnapped frоm the village.
“On this particular issue of payment of ransom, even the communities members and the bandits held meeting again on Wednesday but could not reach an agreement,” it said.
However, a man from the village who refused to mention his name for security reasons said he was asked to pay his N13,000 as part of the contribution levied on every resident of Yanbuki village, saying that the neighbouring community is to pay for onward transmission to the bandits.
But the state Commissioner of Information, Hon. Ibrahim Magaji Dosara, said the state government was not aware that a fine was imposed on the people of Yanbuki community but assured that he would investigate the substance of the claim.
He admitted that the government was aware of the plight of Yanbuki community members regarding the constant attack on the village by the bandits.
“Even recently, security agencies came to their rescue on the threats they are undergoing. But we are not aware that they were asked to pay a N10 million fine. We cannot confirm the substance of the claim now until we investigate it.
“On the allegation that the people of Yanbuki village were neglected by the government despite the threat, they are facing from the bandits,” he said.
“Did They have informed you that recently the vehicles of security agencies were attacked and set ablaze by the bandits, so if they are neglected, how did security vehicles got burnt? I think that issue of saying they were abandoned by the government does not arise.”
According to the commissioner, enforcement of the fine on communities by some suspected bandits is the latest security threat faced by many communities in Zamfara State the state government and the security agencies are making frantic efforts to see to the rescue of people from Zurmi, Bungudu, Kaura Namoda, Gusau, Bakura, Maru and Tsafe.