As bandits take over Taraba settlements, police form a coordinated patrol.
No fewer than 15 communities in the Garba-Chede area of the Bali Local Government Area of Taraba State have been taken over by heavily armed bandits.
The residents have now relocated to the Kaigama chiefdom in Garba-Chede.
While some succeeded in fleeing the communities, several others, including women and children, were said to have been whisked away by the kidnappers.
Speaking with our reporter, the monarch of Gamfurum, one of the affected communities, Muhammed Gamfuru, said the bandits take their victims to the mountaintop to negotiate for ransom.
He said he and his family members, including his wives and children, have been under the watchlist of the kidnappers, forcing him to relocate his family.
The monarch, presently domiciled in Garba-Chede, said, “We have no option but to run away from our towns and villages to safe areas because the bandits are in large numbers, each of them carrying two to three AK-47 guns.”
Expressing sadness at the number of victims presently in the kidnappers’ dens, he said the bandits force them to carry their loads whenever they move their base to another location.
He said over 100 people, including about 20 women and children, have been abducted.
He called on the authorities concerned to put in place measures that would help flush out the bandits.
Gamfuru recalled how six kidnapped victims recently regained their freedom after paying N7 million in ransom.
The state police command’s Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Abdullahi Usman, told our reporter in a telephone chat that the command is aware and has set up a joint patrol team comprising soldiers, hunters, and vigilantes.
He added that policemen had been deployed on Friday, adding that more would be sent to the troubled areas on Monday.
Our reporter gathered that the bandits besieging the state were those that fled Zamfara, Katsina, Kebbi, and Sokoto in the North-West of the country.