At least 120 gangs of bandits are operating in Zamfara, Sokoto, Katsina, Kaduna, Kebbi and Niger, has in its possession more than 500 AK 47 rifles.
A lecturer at the Usman Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, Dr Murtala A. Rufa’i, disclosed these at a public lecture organised by Usman Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, as part of its seminar series on banditry in the North West.
The lecturer said over 12,000 persons have lost their lives to banditry in Zamfara State since 2011.
According to him, about 250,000 livestock had been rustled, 120 villages’ destroyed and over 50,000 villagers were displaced by bandits in the period under review.
Presenting a paper, titled, “I am a Bandit: A Decade of Research in Zamfara Bandit’s Den”, Rufa’i said he had had a one-on-one interaction with some of the bandits’ leaders.
He explained that these gangs of bandits basically engaged in the mass killing of innocent people, cattle rustling, kidnapping, gender-based and sexual violence (GBSV) and other related human rights abuses.
“At the beginning, they lived in the woods and mountainous areas from where they unleashed terror on the rural and urban areas in the states but some of the bandits have become very daring to the extent of operating from their respective villages,” he said.
According to him, powerful camps and gangs like the one headed by Dan-Karami of Zurmi, Alhaji Auta of Birnin Magaji, Halilu of Chafe, Turji of Isa and Dogo Gide of Birnin Gwari have the financial capacity and connections to procure a large number of weapons.