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Zamfara Bandit Attacks: Victims Recount Stories Of Pain And Survival

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Deplorable Plight Of Residents Of Zamfara After Several Bandit Attacks

While the Federal Government has sent troops to Zamfara State to flush out bandits in the state, residents have continued to count their loss and discomfort.

63 year old Mamman, was one of the victims who survived the attack on residents of Gidan Goga that left  a popular farmer and his three sons killed.

While the villagers decided to go to the farm to recover the corpses, the gunmen returned and killed 19 more.

The Cable reports that it was a day during the last Ramadan.

Victim Recuperating ( THECABLE)

Mamman escaped with a gunshot that left his right leg in a state of perpetual pain. Initially, he had some treatment at the nearest hospital in Zurmi town but the pain won’t just go.

The farmer writhed in pain, oblivious of the stench around him, Mamman, who hardly affords eye contact with visitors, narrated how the pain has been increasing daily.

When asked how his treatment was going, he said, with a tone of resignation, “It is all about traditional herbs and concoctions. But the pain remains the same.”

There are many like him, who survived attacks of the armed bandits live in pain and largely without proper medical treatment.

In April 2014, the bandits stormed venue of a meeting in ‘Yar Galadima in Maru local government and killed over 200 people.

The meeting was about setting up a vigilante group to protect villagers from attacks. Like many other villages that had a taste of the brutality of the attackers, the people of ‘Yar Galadima still live in fear.

There are those who are also living with the burden of having to carter for widows and orphans.
“We can’t forget that black day forever. But more painful was the fact that we are living with a reminder of the impact of that attack in the form of widows and orphans,” said Nasiru, who witnessed the 2014 attack.

“There are many of them here. Some had to move to other places to make ends meet. But coming across widows and orphans every day makes me feel vulnerable as if that tragic day is coming back all over again.”

In Birane the district of Zurmi local government area where 41 people were killed by the bandits in February, there is a list of all those killed.

Some of the gory pictures of those killed were taken just before burial. Almost every family is sheltering orphans. Some of the widows have either returned to their families or moved to other villages.

Those who stayed were mostly those who have many children. The children have not been able to continue their education.

Many of the children boys and girls you see working at farms at the entrance of the village are orphans. They have to help their families to survive without a breadwinner. We are all poor. There is nothing we can do to help,” Adamu Dan Ila, a resident, said.

In Birane district, people go to farm only when soldiers are on patrol.

In some cases, the bandits will kidnap villagers and call their families to pay ransom within a specified time. Families and often villages comply and put the ransom money together and pay as instructed. Local knowledge and in some cases tip from informants kept the bandits ahead and in-charge.

Going to a farm a kilometre away from the village in Birane and ‘Yar Tasha and many other villages is like a suicide mission, according to a resident who pleaded anonymity. Like many rural families, Musa Shehu of ‘Yar Tasha has given up farming.

“We all know the danger of going to the farm. The bandits are hiding in the bush near our villages and they can appear at your farm and kidnap for ransom. If you argue with them they will kill you. It is very dangerous,” he said.

Many parts of rural Zamfara have no access roads and take hours to reach on rough uncharted paths across streams and often rocks. This also gives the bandits an advantage. Some areas can only be reached on motorcycle which is the major logistic of attack used by the bandits.

In a nutshell, the people of rural parts of Zamfara live with in abject fear of bandit attack and sudden death.

 
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