By Abiodun OBA
At least six farmers, including the Vice-Chairman of the Jama’atul Izalatul Bid’ah Wa Iqamatus-Sunnah, Mallam Yakubu Muhammad Bugai have been killed in Birnin-Gwari Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
Chairman, Birnin-Gwari Emirate Progressives’ Union, Ishaq Usman Kasai, who made this known in a statement issued on Saturday lamented that the bandits also abducted more than 40 farmers in their act.
According to him, the incident took place on Wednesday.
“Until his murder, Mal Yakubu Bugai was a strong pillar, pioneer member, and also the Vice-Chairman of the Birnin-Gwari Orphans Foundation, which is an organization devoted to taking care of thousands of Orphans left behind by mostly victims of armed banditry in the security ravaged area.
“The Birnin-Gwari Emirate Progressives Union (BEPU) sorrowfully mourns the death of the Vice-Chairman of Jama’atul Izalatul Bid’ah Wa Iqamatus-Sunnah, Birnin-Gwari Branch, Mal. Yakubu Muhammad Bugai and three other farmers were killed by the murderous armed bandits who have been unleashing terror in the area.
“The JIBWIS Leader was shot on Wednesday 26/7/2023 at his farm located around the Rema area and was later evaluated and taken to Jibril Mai-Gwari General Hospital sustaining gunshots on his abdomen and arm. Regrettably, he passed on by 7:30 am the following day, Thursday, 27th, August 2023.
“In another sad development, around Sabon-Layi, Kurgi, Yelwa, Tashan-Keji, Shiwaka, Unguwan Danfulani and many more rural Communities in the Western part of Birnin-Gwari who are sharing boundaries with Kamuku and Kuyambana Forests, which are serving as hideouts of the Bandits, a large number of locals were kidnapped at their farms. In fact, the situation is so rampant and complex for one to choose among the incidents to report.
“The bandits also herd over people’s farms in those areas where in the Sabon-layi Community alone, more than 10 farms, especially those with grown-up maize, have been cleared deliberately by the bandits’ cattle.
“In fact, the Bandits told the farmers to stop wasting their time going to farm in the area because even if they do, they will not allow them to harvest and may end up being killed or abducted.”
He added: “On Friday 21-7-2023, the bandits invaded Ung. Bawa in Randagi Ward and kidnapped 28 persons including women and children and also killed 1 and shot 4 who are currently receiving medical attention at various health facilities. However, 13 out of the captives have managed to escape from the den.
“On Tuesday 25/7/2023, the bandits attacked Rafin Zango, around Eka Farm, and kidnapped two persons who were on their way coming back from Birnin-Gwari town heading to Gagumi Community.
“Also, on Wednesday 26/7/2023, they invaded Unguwan Roka of Kakangi Ward, killed 1 person, and kidnapped 9. On Thursday night (27/7/2023), the bandits came back to a nearby Community, Unguwan Danfulani, killed 1 person, and kidnapped 7 from one family.
“Earlier on the same Thursday 27/7/2023, the bandits blocked traders and grain suppliers who were on their way from the Western part to the Birnin-Gwari weekly Market. The bandits operated for about an hour and kidnapped 6 persons”.
He expressed concern over the continued killing and kidnapping of farmers by the bandits while declaring that 70 percent of farmers in the area had yet to access their farmlands as a result of the activities of the bandits.
“We are deeply concerned that farmers continued to be attacked whenever they go to their farms. This poses a serious danger to this year’s targeted farming outputs as about 70% of farmlands are yet to be accessible. On Wednesday 26/7/2023, four locals were kidnapped at their farms at Yelwa Community in Sabon-Layi axis.
“In fact, kidnapping and killings of locals at farms have become rampant in the entire Birnin-Gwari general area. Even today Saturday, the bandits abducted two farmers at the Maraban Agyaro area of the Gagumi axis. These incidences are just to mention but few.
“BEPU is deeply concerned that the killings and abductions of farmers in the Birnin-Gwari general area have continued to escalate on a daily basis, unchallenged and unreported.”
He, however, lauded the determination of the Senator Uba Sani-led administration in tackling the security challenges in the Birnin-Gwari LGA.
The Union, he said, appealed to the Federal Government to facilitate the establishment of military detachments in Katakaki, Gagumi, Tashar-Keji and Bugai axis of the Western part of Birnin-Gwari where the Bandits Warlords were now using as their operational base from where they kept terrorizing the Birnin-Gwari general area.
He also said there was a need for the restoration of the Mobile Police Unit in the Damari Community of the eastern part of the Local Government which bandits were using as a route to attack many Communities in the area.
He urged the state government to post more health workers in the area as the victims of banditry continued to die due to poor medical attention as a result of inadequate staffing and equipment in the Jibril Mai-Gwari General Hospital.
He added that only one Medical Doctor in the entire Hospital, noting that was by far not proportionate to the population.
“On this note, BEPU appeals to the Kaduna State Government to post more health personnel or recruit indigenous Medical Doctors who would be managing the Hospital as victims of armed banditry continue to die due to insufficient primary medical attention,” BEPU Chair declared.
There was no official confirmation of the incident either from the police or the state government.
The state police Command’s Public Relations Officer, Mohammad Jalige, had yet to respond to our correspondent’s inquiry on the incident.