Despite Peace Deal, Bandits Attack LG Chairman in Katsina, Kill Guard, Abduct Two Children

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Release 10 kidnapped women

Francis Sardauna in Katsina

Gunmen suspected to be bandits have reportedly attacked the house of Matazu Local Government Transition Committee Chairman in Katsina State, Mr. Kabiru Matazu, and abducted two of his children.

Repentant bandits in the state have however released 10 women, including a nursing mother with her three-month-old baby as part of the ongoing dialogue between them and the state government.

The suspected bandits also killed his watchman before gaining access to the house where they kidnapped Aliyu and Ahmed, Matazu’s two sons.

This is coming barely 24 hours after the state Governor, Aminu Bello Masari had a peace deal with repentant bandits who have so far released 15 kidnapped persons in their custody.

It was further gathered that the hoodlums stormed the residence of the chairman, situated within the local government headquarters, yesterday at about 2:15 a.m.

Matazu, who was said to be inside the house when the miscreants struck, managed to escape the attack with his wife and other children.

A credible source in the council told THISDAY in a telephone interview that the bandits numbering about 20 stormed the house and started shooting sporadically for almost one hour before kidnapping his children.

According to the source, “The bandits arrived at about 2.10a.m., and shot the night watchman. The chairman managed to escape with some of his family members, with the bandits took away two of his children.

“The children are two boys-one of them has just completed his senior secondary school while the younger one is still in school. Up till now, we have not been able to establish contact with the hoodlums.”

However, all effort made to reach Matazu for comment on the incident went futile as calls and text messages put to his phone lines were unanswered as of press time. But the spokesman of the state police command, SP Gambo Isah, confirmed the incident, and said investigation was ongoing to unravel the identities of the culprits.

Meanwhile, repentant bandits in the state have again released 10 women, including a nursing mother with her three-month-old baby as part of the ongoing dialogue between them and the state government.

The hoodlums had last Sunday released five kidnapped persons in their custody, bringing the numbers of those so far regained freedom from the abductors to 15 in the state.

The 10 victims, who had been in captivity for more than three weeks, were kidnapped on their way to Shinfida Village in Jibia Local Government Area of the state, when security officers escorting them from Jibia town to the area were ambushed by the hoodlums.

The freed women, who looked sickly and hungry, were brought to the office of Governor Aminu Bello Masari on Tuesday at about 7.30 p.m. by two representatives of the outlaws.

Speaking while receiving the victims, Masari said the state government’s dialogue with leaders of the bandits has started yielding positive results considering the level of cooperation he has so far received from them.

He, however, directed the Transition Committee Chairman of Jibia Local Government Area, Mr. Haruna Musa, to take the victims to Jibia General Hospital to examine their health conditions before they would be reunited with their families.

Masari said: “We started the peace process since we started meeting with leaders of the bandits at their locations. They promised us that there are certain leaders of theirs that if we release them, they would release our people under captivity in the forest.

“They started last Sunday by releasing five and we are able to release seven of their people that were being detained in Kano, Kaduna and here in Katsina.

“We are happy to received 10 females today (Tuesday) detained by the bandits. We have directed the Chairman of Jibia Local Government Area to take them to Jibia General Hospital to examine them before they are finally taken to their village.”

Asked what the government is doing to free the remaining captives, Masari said: “the herdsmen have given us list of 18 people on awaiting trial.

“We will check those under detention with the police, DSS and those in prison custody. So long as they are not convicted, we will work out modalities of releasing them so that the rest of our people under their custody would also be released.”

The released victims are: Sa’adatu Garba, Dije Abdulmini, Dahara Garba, Salame Abu Musa, Rabi’atu Muazu, Shamsiyya Sabi’u, Halima Hambali, Barira Adamu, Manya Sani and Maryam Sani.