The Emir of Bungudu, Alhaji Hassan Attahiru, has said killings by bandits are not abating in Zamafara State despite the military operations against the criminals.
The monarch, who spoke with one of our correspondents on Monday night, disclosed that bandits recently stormed his domain in broad daylight and killed 15 people.
The emir said that the air force ignored a distress call when the bandits attacked his domain.
Attahiru stated, “Just on Saturday, in my domain, the bandits struck in broad daylight and killed 15 people. Thirteen people died instantly, while two others gave up the ghost later.
“The worst of all was that when the local government chairman alerted the head of the air force to the attack, the response he got from the other end was that he was not supposed to have picked his (of the LG chairman) call, ‘since you people have decided to disgrace us.’
“When the council chairman informed me of what transpired, I picked my phone and called the air force commander. Three times I did, but he never picked my calls and since Saturday, he has yet to return my calls.”
Attahiru also emphasised that the places where the bandits kept their kidnapped victims had not been reached by the security agencies.
He said, “Nobody is saying they are not doing anything. They need to do more by taking the battle to the bandits’ enclaves, instead of fighting them at the periphery.
“Most times when they strike and retreat, these bandits regroup and launch more ferocious attacks on innocent villagers, accusing them of inviting the security agencies.
“These bandits were still around and wreaking havoc. The security force should take the war to them.”
The Emir of Bungudu also pointed out that kidnapped victims were kept in several places where the bandits had camps, scattered around and not at Dumburum alone.
The traditional ruler said, “We have notified the security agencies about their camps. Some are kept in southern Maru, Bunuwe, in Birnin area, and Dandili. The victims are not actually kept in those villages but in forests and rocky terrains.”
Efforts to reach the Chairman of Bungudu Local Government, Abdulaziz Ahmed Nahuche, to shed more light on his alleged call to the air force did not succeed.
When one of our correspondents put a call to him, his phone initially rang out. Subsequent calls, however, did not go through as of the time of sending this report. It indicated that it was switched off. He had also yet to respond to an SMS sent to him to find out the name of the officer he called.
Spokesman for Operations Sharan Daji and Habun Kunama III, confirmed the attack but denied any knowledge that the security force on ground snubbed calls from the council boss or the emir.
The Assistant Director Army Public Relations, Maj. Clement Abiade, said, “I have not got such report that our troops on the ground ignored calls from people they are on the ground to protect.
“They have all our contacts. My advice is that they should reach out to more than one or two persons, when such a need arises.”