*Text Box: Says 40 kidnapped victims held by bandits
Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
The Birnin Gwari Emirate Progressive Union (BEPU) yesterday raised the alarm over the rampant killing and kidnapping of three infants and 16 travellers on the Birnin-Gwari-Kaduna Highway by armed bandits.
The group said 40 kidnapped victims were held by bandits in the entire area.
The alarm is coming 48 hours after the Nigerian Air Force and Nigerian Police conducted a search and rescue operation codenamed “Taimako Yazo” on the Abuja-Kaduna Highway.
A statement issued by the Chairman of the group, Salisu Haruna, said bandits laid siege to Zankoro along the notorious Birnin Gwari-Kaduna Highway two days ago, killing nine travellers including three infants on their way to Zoka in Birnin-Gwari Local Government Area for a ceremony.
He said the bandits launched another attack yesterday shooting sporadically and abducted an unspecified number of people and wounded six others, who are presently receiving treatment at Buruku along Kaduna-Birnin-Gwari Highway.
“The New Year 2021 began with sorrow and tears for the people of Birnin-Gwari Local Government Area of Kaduna state. On Sunday, 31d January.2021, armed bandits laid siege to innocent travellers at Zankoro along dreaded Birnin-Gwari-Kaduna Highway killing nine people (including three infants) that are on their way to a ceremony at Doka in Birnin-Gwan Local Government
“Similarly, the bandits came out yesterday, Monday, January 4, 2021 at the same Zankoro at about 900 am, shooting sporadically and abducted unspecified number of people and wounded six others that are now receiving treatment at Buruku along Kaduna-Birnin-Gwari Highway”, he said.
Haruna disclosed that in the past two weeks, bandits terrorised the people of Birnin-Gwari especially those travelling along Birnin Gwari-Funtua and Birnin Gwari-Kaduna Highways noting that the bandits “have become intensely aggressive as they continue to kill and abduct innocent citizens unabated”.
The group condemned the poor response of government at all levels to the situation.
“From December 20, 2020 to January 4, 2021, bandits have mercilessly terrorised the people of Birnin-Gwari thereby kidnapping them at homes. farms and during travels.
“The bandits have ruthlessly been killing the people of Birnin Gwari and the Kaduna State government has evidently chosen to take off her eyes from our pathetic situation at least by acknowledging cases of abductions and serial killings by the bandits,” he said.
The group called on the Kaduna State goverment to note that “there are cases of kidnappings and kilIings everyday on Birnin Gwari-Kaduna and Birnin- Gwari-Funtua Highways. There are more than 40 abductees currently at the mercy of the bandits who were kidnapped between December 20, 2020 and Monday, January 4, 2021.
“Some of them have been reported terribly ill. A total of nine innocent travellers were killed at Zankoro along Birnin Gwari-Kaduna Highway on Sunday, January 3, 2020. A total of 11 people were kidnapped at Dan Kungi village on Sunday, January 3, 2020”, he said.
The union called on the government to deploy immediate response squad to mount offensive operations to contain banditry in the area.
“We also urge the government to sit up to its responsibility and protect the Iives and property of defenceless people of Birnin-Gwari, whose blood are spilled daily by the bandits,” he said.