Francis Sardauna in Katsina
Bandits have again attacked seven villages in Batsari Local Government Area, Katsina State forcing residents to flee their ancestral homes to the state capital, residents have claimed.
The residents listed the affected communities to include Batsari, Dutsin-Ma, Danmusa, Safana, Faskari, Sabuwa and Kankara while other local government areas in the state had been under siege.
In separate interviews with THISDAY in Katsina yesterday, the residents said that the bandits had been killing and maiming women at many local communities in the state.
They, also, lamented that the simultaneous attacks on Batsari communities had forced residents of Kurmiyal, Yandaka, Maidoriya, Tashar Kadanya, Garin Goje, Watangadiya and Dutse Maizane to abandon their villages.
The residents claimed that hundreds of women and children, who survived deadly invasions in the communities, “are currently taking refuge in Batsari and Katsina, the state capital.”
One of the residents, Tasi’u Farouk, said the hoodlums had within one month massacred over 50 people and kidnapped several others in various communities in the council area, rendering hundreds homeless.
Farouk, whose wife and three children were killed in recent attack in Tsauwa and Dankar villages that claimed 30 lives, lamented that Batsari had become a theatre of war due to prevailing attacks orchestrated by the armed bandits.
He said: “The bandits burnt my wife and three children beyond recognition in Tsauwa. I left the village after the attack on February 14 and I am now taking refuge in Shagari-low cost with some of our relatives without food.
“They killed our people everyday and cart away all our means of survival. We are appealing to the state government to come to our rescue because these attackers are bent on eliminating us all”.
Another refugee, Sefinatu Idris, whose father, Idris Yusuf and Uncle, Kabir Isa were killed in Kurmiyal village, explained that banditry and other heinous activities had made life unbearable for her and the entire family.
Sefinatu who wept uncontrollably while narrating her ordeal, said: “Since the untimely death of my father and uncle, I and my mother have resulted to begging as our means of survival. We hardly eat in a day. Government should please assist my mother”.
Also speaking, the District Head of Batsari, Alhaji Tukur Mu’azu Ruma, said residents of the communities preferred COVID-19 pandemic than bandits, lamenting that miscreants had been launching fresh onslaughts on communities within his chiefdom on daily basis.
He claimed that the bandits were responsible for renewed attacks, calling on the state government to open Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps in the state.
Ruma equally admonished President Muhammadu Buhari to deploy adequate security personnel to the council areas in order to curtail what he termed bleeding attacks for normalcy and peace to thrive.
The traditional ruler said that last year, 43 per cent of farmers could not farm, adding that bloodletting in the area if not tackled immediately, would lead to serious food crisis in the state and the country in particular.
“I receive displaced persons in this palace everyday and I have been feeding them with my foodstuffs. Unfortunately, the foodstuffs finished Friday. I am appealing to state and federal governments to come to our rescue by providing food items to these people.
“The displaced persons are in difficult situation, they are sleeping on the floor in markets and streets because bandits have taken over their houses and villages. We don’t have houses to give them, therefore, we are appealing to government to open Batsari Model Primary School to serve as their camp.
“We prefer COVID-19 than bandits. The virus didn’t killed even one person in Batsari Local Government, but these marauding bandits killed so many people that we don’t know their numbers.”