No fewer than five villages have been deserted as a result of the menace of bandits, who reportedly collect levies from residents and also attack them.
The affected villages are Karazau Dantsauni, Gidan-tsamiya, Gurgurawa, Kwalaye and Gudan-kaura.
A resident of the area, Musa Sani, told PUNCH that they had contributed and paid N15million levy enforced by the bandits but the hoodlums were demanding an additional amount.
He said, “The bandits told us to give them N15million so that they would not attack us again. We sold some of our belongings including our farms and paid the sum but to our surprise, they are still insisting that they need more money. We informed the security agents about this sad development but nothing was done to prevent the bandits from taxing us.
“We even staged a peaceful protest in order to draw the attention of the security agents to come to our rescue but unfortunately some of our people were arrested by the police. So, we have to leave our villages and look for safe places because these heartless bandits can still come back to attack us.
“35 people, including women and children, who refused to run away from the area were kidnapped and taken to the bandits’ hideout.
“More than 10 people were killed by the bandits in Karazau village alone, my younger brother, Ali, was among the slain victims.”
He, however, called on security agents to come to their rescue and deploy adequate security personnel.
Zamfara Police Command’s spokesperson, SP Mohammed Shehu, said there was no official complaint with regard to enforcement of levy on the communities by the bandits.
He noted that the police command had in the past one month deployed security personnel to secure the areas.
He said, “Although we did not receive any complaints regarding the collection of levies by the bandits, the Commissioner of Police, Ayuba Elkana, has already deployed the police in collaboration with other security agents to continue patrolling the area.”