By Abiodun OBA
At least 100 residents of Mutunji town in Maru local government Area of Zamfara State, North West Nigeria have been abducted by terrorists for failure to pay the tax of N50 million owed Damina.
Residents told the BBC Hausa Services that the gunmen were loyal to Damina, a terrorist kingpin in the area.
They said the gunmen came on motorbikes and surrounded the villagers Friday night after the Isha’i prayer before taking them into the forest.
It was learnt that they were abducted for failure to pay the tax of N50 million that the villagers owed Damina.
There is no statement from the security forces about the attack on Friday night in the town of Mutunzi.
“We were sitting in a place called Yar Kasuwa after the Isha’i prayers when the terrorists stormed the community. They surrounded the community while others drove into the community centre. We began running but it was already too late. They matched the people into the forest,” a local told the BBC.
Men, women and children were said to have been abducted by the gunmen.
Residents of the area said that the gunmen had been plaguing the area for a long time, harassing tax collectors and that he attacked on Friday while efforts were being made to collect money for him.
“We are trying to collect the money – twenty and fifty to be collected, but suddenly the bandits came in and robbed people. Damina took more than a hundred people, and most of them were women and young people,” a local said.
The local said God saved him as a result of knowing the forest after managing to escape, adding that the gunmen left the town after the deadline of one week they gave to collect the N50 million expired.
It was learnt that apart from the town of Mutunji, other neighbourhoods were asked to pay money.
A local added that Damina forced the people of Kwana to contribute N30 million, and Sabon Mahuta to contribute N20 million, while Unguwar Kawo were to contribute N10 million.
“Damina asked the villages to contribute N110 million altogether.”
Residents of the area said that the gunmen were almost in control of the area, as there are no security officers.
“The terrorists are in control of the area – they send us to the forest to become agricultural workers, and when we come back, they come to town and eat meat, tea and bottled goods without paying,” said the residents of the area.