Residents of Magami community in Gusau Local Government Area, of Zamfara State, have been thrown into confusion and distress over the reported invasion of their communities by bandits.
It was gathered that the armed bandits have now gotten so emboldened that they often mount roadblocks and demand the residents to pay levies and taxes before they can embark on their daily activities which is majorly farming.
According to a resident who narrated the experience, those who fail to comply will either be kidnapped or have their farmlands destroyed with fire by the bandits.
The source added that though soldiers are present in the town, the bandits have perfected ways of carrying out their activities, leaving residents purely at the mercy of God.
“If you fail to pay bandits the levy, they either abduct you or burn your farmland,“ the residents lamented.
The source who spoke on the phone about the development narrated that: ”Once you leave Gusau before you reach Magami is a herculean task unless you have an escort. Since the killing of Mobile Police, MOPOL men in a day, they block the road four to five times. They stop large vehicles and empty the contents. They also impose taxes.
“If you go to Magami, a kilometre to Magami the bandits can stop you, either abduct you or ask you to pay tax. As from Monday, they have set two farms on fire at Magami because of failure to pay tax to the bandits.
“The farmers went to harvest maize but the bandits stopped them and set the farms on fire. They held two women who were there hostage. The bandits seized a new vehicle belonging to the farmers, but they later released the women.
“The bandits demanded for money, before the farmers could mobilize and pay, the bandits set the farms on fire and threatened that if money was not given to them, they will continue to burn the farms.
“Yesterday the bandits set some places on fire near the entrance to the town, but people teamed up and chased them away before putting off the fire. It happened less than a kilometre to Magami and the place was on the road. They are doing that to show us if money is not paid to them, they will continue to burn people’s farms.
“There are plans to collect money from community members and pay them. But before that is done, if you dare go to the farm, they will abduct you, burn your farm and demand for ransom. That is our current predicament.”
However, the Zamfara State Police Command when contacted has debunked any such happenings in the area, saying they have no record or official complaints related to such.
The BBC Hausa Service quoted the Police in the State to have denied the destruction of farmlands in the community by the bandits.
Meanwhile, the Zamfara State government led by Governor Bello Matawalle has ordered the shutting down of a filling station and bakery in Gusau and Tsafe local government areas of the State.
Naija News understands that the directives came after the staff of the business outfits were nabbed for allegedly supplying bandit terrorists with petrol and bread.