Panic grips Zamfara communities as gunmen demand over N1m levy

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The banditry in Zamfara State has taken a more dangerous dimension as bandits have demanded over N1 million as levies from different communities in Zurmi, Kaura Namoda and Birnin-Magaji local government areas of the state.

Communities affected by this include Birnin Tsaba, Gabaken Mesa, Gabaken Dan-Maliki, Turawa, Askawa and Yanbuki.Residents of these communities are said to now be at the mercy of the bandits who have virtually set up their own government in the affected areas.

A resident of one of the communities who preferred anonymity, said the people of Askawa had paid N5 million for 18 abducted persons and to also prevent further attacks on their community.While noting that some communities were yet to raise the money before the December 11 deadline given by the gunmen, he said the situation had caused panic in the affected areas.

Gabaken Mesa has paid N1 million, Gabaken Dan-Maliki, N1 million and Birnin Tsaba N1 million, just to mention but few,” the distraught resident said. He explained that the Yanbuki community was told to pay N19 million but noted that after negotiation, it was reduced to N10 million.

On whether the community has informed security agencies, he said: “No one is going to police to report, knowing full well that nothing will be done but to tell them to pay the money.“I personally went to the military on Friday evening in Kaura Namoda to report the incident; I almost ended up fighting with one of the soldiers. I can categorically tell you nothing has been done, till now.”

On his part, the Commissioner for Information in the state, Ibrahim Dosara, confirmed the development to Channels Television.He said the state government was aware of the levy imposed on these communities but assured that the government was working with the security agencies to ensure the communities were secured.“The government is working with the security agencies to make sure these communities are secured,” the commissioner said.He did not, however, say how soon the communities would be rescued from the claws of the bandits, especially with regards to the bandits’ demands for N1 million levy.

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