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Protesting Zamfara community barricades Govt House, faults troops withdrawal

There was tension in Gusau, the Zamfara State capital on Sunday, as residents of Bini village in the Maru Local Government Area blocked the state  Government House.

The villagers said they were protesting against the withdrawal of security personnel from their village amid incessant attacks by bandits.

The villagers, who were in large numbers, blocked the main gate of the Government House, insisting they would not leave unless the soldiers were deployed to their community.

The tense situation grounded vehicular movements around the government house as the protesters occupied the major roads by sitting on the ground.

The leader of the protesters, who gave his name as Sani Aliyu, said bandits were presently in their village, operating freely as there were no security personnel to confront them.

According to him, the military personnel, who were earlier sent to the village to fight the bandits, were later withdrawn.

He said bandits had almost taken over the entire community.

“Most of the villagers have fled to other places both within and outside the state.

“We reported to the authorities about the critical situation we are in, but no action was taken, as such, we are not going anywhere. We will continue to be here until the state government mobilises security personnel to our village to protect us,” Aliyu said.

Another resident, Mallam Umar Salisu, confirmed to the News Agency of Nigeria that they had to flee from the community following the withdrawal of military personnel from the area.

“Before now, there were military personnel attached to our village. Some of them were killed by bandits while some were withdrawn on Sunday.

“There are no security personnel in our area now. That is why we decided to carry all our wives and children to come to Government House and seek for government’s intervention,’’ Salisu said.

Another fleeing community member, Hajia Aisha Usman, expressed displeasure at the condition of the people of the community.

“We are highly disturbed. We receive threats of attacks from bandits on a daily basis.

“There are no security personnel to protect us. We are seeking for government’s intervention,’’ she said.

Yet another community member, Malam Wakkala Gurgu said: “We decided to come to Government House to inform the government about security threats in our community.

“We want the government to take quick action as regards the security situation. Bandits are currently in our communities.

“We want government to help us and deploy security personnel to our area,’’ Gurgu said.

Addressing the protesters on behalf of the state government, the Commissioner for Education, Wadatau Madawaki, sympathised with them and commended them for the maturity they exhibited during the demonstration.

The commissioner said, “The bandits have been on the rampage these days in order to force the state government to have a dialogue with them.

“Governor Dauda Lawal has since the day he assumed office made it clear that he would not reconcile with the bandits but will continue to fight them until they surrender.”

The commissioner said the state government had directed the military to deploy its personnel to the village without further delay.

“I want to, on behalf of the state government sympathise with you on the situation you find yourselves.

“The state government has directed the military to escort you back to your village and they will remain there until the situation improves,” he said.


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