According to a report by The PUNCH, as many as five villages in the Gusau Local Government Area of Zamfara State have been deserted due to persistent attacks by bandits who reportedly collect levies from the villagers.
The affected villages are; Karazau Dantsauni, Gidan-tsamiya, Gurgurawa, Kwalaye and Gudan-kaura.
A resident of the area, Musa Sani, said they had contributed and paid N15m levy enforced by the bandits, but the hoodlums were demanding an additional amount.
He said, “The bandits told us to give them N15m 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.”
Sani maintained that 35 people, including women and children, who refused to run away from the area were kidnapped and taken to the bandits’ hideout.
He said more than 10 people had been reportedly killed by the bandits in Karazau village alone, lamenting that his younger brother, Ali, was among the slain victims.
He called on the security agents to come to their rescue and deploy adequate security personnel.
Commenting on the issue, the spokesperson for the police in the state, SP Mohammed Shehu, said there was no official complaint with regard to enforcement of levy on the communities by the bandits.
He stated 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, CP Ayuba Elkana, has already deployed the police in collaboration with other security agents to continue patrolling the area.”