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‘Hungry’ bandits demanding food as ransom after govs shut markets

The closure of markets by some North-West governors is forcing the bandits in the areas to demand food in place of money as ransom.

Zamfara government for instance had ordered that transportation of livestock beyond the state’s borders be suspended.

The state governor also ordered the closure of weekly markets across the state, while transportation of food items will be subject to verification.

“Henceforth, all filling stations in the state are banned from selling fuel except in Gusau and the 14 local government headquarters. In addition, no eligible filling station is allowed to sell fuel of more that N10,000 to a single customer”.

Similar measures were also taken by Sokoto and Katsina governments.

The shutdown of telecommunication services in these areas makes matter worse for the notorious bandits.

A resident of Sabo Birni, who pleaded anonymity told Daily Trust, how the child of one of his neighbours regained freedom after giving out food items.

“They abducted a daughter of one man in our village and when he could not raise the money, they asked him to bring 10 measures of rice to collect the girl and they kept their promises,”

Another resident of Sokoto told Daily Trust how bandits requested for food items and drinks to release an abducted driver.

“They initially demanded for N15 million before later agreed to accept N600,000.

“They asked his employer who is my friend to use the money to buy bags of rice, crates of energy drinks (Fearless), cartons of spaghetti, cigarettes and bring the remaining change to them. The man is still trying to raise the money,” he said

A security analyst, Aminu Bala Sokoto (rtd), said the situation has shown that the current military onslaught on bandits in Zamfara is yielding result.

“The operation is crippling them because it is not only targeting them, it is also targeting their storage facilities. They are now in a state of disarray, looking for survival.

“And their situation is compounded with the shut down of GSM network in Zamfara and Katsina because they cannot reach out to the relatives of their captives.

“I hope the shutdown will cover other states in the region,” he said.

The Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC) ordered the shut down the phone networks in Zamfara. Few days later, a similar move was deployed in Katsina.

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