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Government Neglects Our Cries, Prefers Negotiating With Terrorists, Say Zamfara Residents

The residents of Bindin, Maru Local Government Area in Zamfara State, were attacked on the night of Saturday, June 13, 2020, during which the attackers kidnapped 26 people.

Bindin is one of the most populous districts in the area and has witnessed the highest number of security breaches being close to Kuyanbana Forest which is known to be a stronghold of armed bands.

Speaking to HumAngle, Nura Baba Bindin, a resident, said “our Complaints are not just about last night’s attack, because what has been happening in the past is what led to last night’s incident.

“Since the dialogues began, we’ve had meetings here in Bindin but whatever the bandits tell the government is taken seriously while ours are almost always neglected.

“Kidnapping, killing of innocent lives and threatening our peace and harassing us with weapons is no longer an unusual thing.

“They parade the whole place with their rifles, they don’t pay when they refill their motorcycles, eat or use any of the commercial services available. On most days, they come and pick young women, take them to the forest to rape and molest them before returning them.

“Since the beginning of the current government, no project has been commissioned in Bindin while they built a 35 million Animal market for the bandits.

“There are a lot of communities under this district, with over 30 polling units and five extensions but for years there has been no single police, soldier or law enforcement (agent) in this place.

“And to make matters worse, we are not allowed to operate vigilante groups; in fact, even in the past, we didn’t have them. The terrorists were the ones in control and they did as they wished unhindered.

“My wife was unfortunately kidnapped but God saved her miraculously when someone suggested she was a breastfeeding mother else she would have remained abducted in the forest.”

Another resident who escaped the violence on Saturday night to Gusau who requested anonymity said: “There is no network in the area therefore we have not confirmed how many were kidnapped.

“We have spent over a million naira just for network providers to get us network down here but it’s fruitless. In Fact, sometimes we have to pay money to get soldiers here but this time it was fruitless.”

Commenting on the recent military operations earlier reported by HumAngle, the residents said they sometimes heard the sounds of bombs and aircraft but were yet to understand what was going on as the criminals still carried out their activities.

Another Resident, Abu Salman Dankurmi, a farmer said, “we can no longer access our farms. This year I wasn’t even able to cultivate a single piece of land, it’s better to leave the place and be safe.”

Pleading with the government Salman said, “my cry to the government is on the exaggerated attention it gives to the terrorists more than listening to their victims.”

Idris Saminu a Lecturer in the Department of Political Science and International Studies at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, and researcher of violent conflicts in Northern Nigeria, told HumAngle that the attitude of the government would not help the war against armed criminals.

He said,  “this will create continuous mistrust between the people, giving more space for the criminals to increase their strength in intelligence tactics and attacks, giving them more room for sophistication and network.

“At the peak of frustration, the people will seek for protection by either joining the bandits or fighting them for safety which will escalate the crisis.”

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