7 Bauchi LGs on edge as abduction cases rise

The abduction of people for ransom has continued ravaging parts of Bauchi State as in recent months, the menace has been prevalent in seven local governments of the state unabated. The seven worst hit local governments are Toro, Ningi, Alkaleri, Jama’are, Tafawa Balewa, Dass and Bogoro. Governor Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed of the state made a […]

The abduction of people for ransom has continued ravaging parts of Bauchi State as in recent months, the menace has been prevalent in seven local governments of the state unabated.

The seven worst hit local governments are Toro, Ningi, Alkaleri, Jama’are, Tafawa Balewa, Dass and Bogoro.

Governor Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed of the state made a request to the Air Force Base in Bauchi to begin an air patrol on the criminals’ hiding forests due to the gravity of the issue.

In the past two weeks, the issue has gotten worse in Toro Local Government, notably in the communities of Gumau, Rishi, and Hayin Rafi where nine people were kidnapped. While some of the hostages were freed after a ransom was paid, the kidnappers killed some of the captives.

A resident of Gumau, Musa Adamu, told Daily Trust on Sunday that the bandits kidnapped one Babangida Danrimi and Saleh Jange in the community, adding that residents are now visibly terrified as the bandits’ attacks have resumed in the area.

Abubakar Danjuma, a Facebook user, commented on Rabi’u Ibrahim Tilde’s post on August 23 that there had been an event last week “where the kidnappers killed two people, including a pregnant woman, and kidnapped two others in your own neighbourhood, Magama. Currently, they only released one after N3m ransom was paid. Even after they got the N2m they sought last evening, both the person who took the ransom and the victim were still being held captive.

“They also killed one Muhammad Harun on August 22nd at Magama Gumau community,” he added.

In Rishi town, the bandits kidnapped a boy who operates a phone shop and three women, then in Hayin Rafi, they kidnapped two people, while in Gumau town, they kidnapped two others in Lame area.

They also killed two people, one in Mato village and another at Ruga road, where the bandits shot them when they refused to follow them.

A resident of Gumau, Malam Usman Sani, said, “We are worried over the security situation in our area.

“Toro local government is one of the largest local governments in Nigeria and we have thick forests around us and high mountains and the Lame Burra Forest which lies between Toro and Ningi local governments which is linked to Falgore Forest in Kano State. It can be a hideout for the terrorists. And, in eastern Jos, there is Maigemu forest, which is very terrifying and has been a den for the kidnappers. Therefore, Toro local government, Ningi, and Jos East can be a hideout for kidnappers in Bauchi and Plateau states,” he added.

Most of the residents of these areas are miners and farmers, which means that the presence of kidnappers in the area is a threat to their economy since they can no longer engage in mining and farming activities.

“Therefore, we are calling on the government to take immediate action in the area; there is a need to deploy security forces to protect the lives and properties,” he said.

Credible sources from the local security committee in Toro LG, who craved anonymity confided to our reporter that nine people were kidnapped, including two royals.

Member representing Toro district in the House of Representatives, Alhaji Isma’il Dabo Haruna, expressed concern over the growing insecurity in the area, which had the locals on edge and visibly afraid. He sympathised with the victims in Zalau, Rishi, Bargan Fulani, Salarma and Gumau communities.

Security experts attribute the problem to the fact that the state shares land borders with seven states of Plateau, Kaduna, Kano, Jigawa, Yobe, Gombe and Taraba, where criminals hide in the forests between the states to commit atrocities.

District Head of Lame, who is also Sarkin Yakin Bauchi, Alhaji Aliyu Yakubu Lame, said he received news of the abduction of some of his royals – Danrimi and Magajin Rafi, though he said they were later freed.

Sarkin Yakin further added that presently, there are roughly 1000 volunteers who have made the sacrifice of joining the security forces to storm any possible hiding places for criminal suspects in the area’s jungles. He also urged the populace to pray more frequently for the restoration of peace.

The Acting Chairman of Bogoro Local Government, Mr. Markus Bitrus Lusa, said they received a report of the abduction of seven people, which he said is crippling the economy of the area. He then asked the traditional leaders, imams, priests and the community in the area to join forces to fight the evil.

Alhaji Ibrahim Tanko Burra, a member representing Burra in the state House of Assembly, claimed that the bandits’ assaults have put his constituents in constant fear.

He expressed concern over the fact that, in addition to kidnapping, criminals are increasingly attacking innocent citizens, killing some, wounding others, and robbing them of their possessions.

Almost every day, he added, news of kidnappings would come out of Ningi Sub-District towns of Kafin Lemo, Gamji, Bashe, Musussuka, Agwarmaji, Balma, Jimi, Tabla and others.

The Bauchi State police spokesman promised to look into the incident when Daily Trust contacted him over the matter, but as at the time of filing this story, he had not responded despite persistent attempts to reach him.

The state police command reported two weeks ago that it had rescued 10 kidnapped victims and arrested 12 suspects in a coordinated operation with vigilantes, hunters, and other security agencies in the Lame/Burra Forest.

In a gunfight, according to State Police Commissioner Auwal Musa Muhammad, his forces killed the two suspects and captured six informants—four men and two women—in addition to the two suspects.

He said the force also arrested the suspected cattle rustlers who were plaguing the Ningi area after receiving information that two men carrying sticks entered the residence of 23-year-old Haruna Idi of Zahi village on Burra Road, and beat him up, rustled his cattle, before the Ningi police arrived. They arrested the suspects named Abubakar Ahmed, 45, and Abdullahi Ahmadu, 22, and recovered the cattle and N300,000 cash.

The five alleged kidnappers who operate in Kongoro were apprehended by joint security personnel in a separate operation, the CP added.

After a bloody struggle, the police claimed to have killed five kidnappers in Jama’are Local Government Area, recovered firearms and freed 16 of the victims they had abducted.

Speaking to journalists, two of the suspects – who happened to be siblings, confessed to engaging in kidnappings and said they were only given N10,000 each after any operation. They claim that someone named Rilwanu initiated them into kidnapping.