Residents of Anka and Maru local government areas in Zamfara State on Tuesday were thrown into panic when ‘hundreds’ of armed bandits stormed the area, looting in the process.
The bandits were ”returning to their base in Niger State,” residents said.
Residents said over 500 bandits, dressed in military uniform and armed with AK47 rifles stopped over at Mayanchi junction in Maru Local Government Area, robbed a filing station and looted shops in the community.
“Though the bandits didn’t attack us, they were moving in a convoy of motorcycles scaring residents. They, however, robbed a filing station, looted shops. Some residents out of fear, hailed the bandits,” a resident who requested not to be named, said.
Another source said the bandits came from Anka forest, robbed residents of their phones, mocking them that the peace agreement brokered in Zamfara between bandits and the government ”only stopped them from killing but stealing is allowed.”
When contacted, Zamfara police spokesperson, Mr Muhammad Shehu, said the incident had no links with Boko Haram, another deadly group in the north.
”It was some repentant bandits who were passing through the area to Birnin Gwari in Kaduna State.
“A group (of bandits) was attending a meeting on how to deal with some recalcitrants bandits among them that have ‘issues’ with the traders in the area due to some apprehension. The issue was resolved between the traders and the groups. No loss of life or injury was recorded,” Mr Shehu said in a statement.
The Peace Talks
The Zamfara government and bandits are currently engaged in a peace process that has led to the exchange of arrested bandits for kidnappped victims in the bandit’s hold.
The government says the ongoing dialogue has resulted in relative peace.
Governor Bello Matawale called on the armed bandits to shun crime, embrace peace and legal means of
He said his administration would rehabilitate those who accept peace and reintegrate them into the larger society.