Kidnappers Storm Viewing Centre, Kidnap Seven in Zamfara 

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More than 20 suspected kidnappers stormed a football viewing centre in Zamfara State at the weekend and kidnapped seven people.

The incident happened in Birnin Magaji Local Government Area of the state.

The father of one of the victims disclosed yesterday that his two sons, including the owner of the viewing centre were among those kidnapped.

A witness, according to Premuim Times, said the kidnappers arrived the viewing centre at about 10p.m. on wearing army and police uniforms.

He said they pretended to be genuine security men detailed to guard the viewing centre.

According to him, some minutes later, they stormed the centre and kidnapped seven people, he said, asking not to be named.

The victims were identified as Sunusi Sani, the owner of the viewing centre; his younger brother, Zubairu Sani; and Bala Maibolu. Others are Yusuf Shekau, Shamsu Dan-Isiya, Bello Kwazo, and Nura Muhammad. The last four are said to be from neighbouring villages and are taking refuge at Birnin Magaji town.

The viewing centre is located at Hardo, in the eastern part of Birnin Magaji town. The kidnappers after the operation shot sporadically into the air as they left the area. This alerted soldiers to the community. Residents said the soldiers arrived promptly but the kidnappers had left.

Birnin Magaji is the hometown of Minister of Defence, Brig-Gen. Mansur Dan-Ali (rtd).

Thousands of people from the 30 odd villages in Birnin Magaji and Zumi local government areas are taking refuge in Birnin Magaji town after their villages were sacked by armed bandits.

Many of the displaced persons sleep on the open market space because of insufficient accommodation.

Efforts to reach the police spokesperson in Zamfara, Mohammed Shehu, yesterday were not successful.

He did not pick calls made to his phone.

Kidnapping for ransom is rampant in Zamfara State where security operatives have been unable to tackle rampaging armed bandits.

Many people have also been killed and thousands displaced from their homes.