Security

Bandits’ Tax: We’ve no other option than to pay, Zamfara residents lament

Few weeks ago, the news of bandits writing some communities in Zamfara to pay N24 million levy or risk being attacked was instantly dismissed by the state police command as “an old issue”.

Meanwhile, according to a resident, ”the bandits had stayed in Gando forest and launched attacks on some communities in Bukkuyum and Anka Local Government Areas. They killed dozens and rustled over 2000 cows.

“When some captives were released and returned home, the bandits gave them letters to the communities demanding payment of tax. The letters were signed by one of the bandits commander, Dogon Sabi na Auwali Wanzam asking the nine villages to pay the tax.

” The letter which carried a phone number warned the villagers not to hesitate in paying the money. Some of the community leaders who received the letters from the bandits reported the matter to the authorities. However, there was no reaction from official quarters on the development”.

According to the letter, the village of “Yargalma will pay N5,000,000; Wawan Iccen Ibrahim N4,000,000; Wawan Iccen Salihu N1,000,000; Gaude N1,000,000; Gelle N1,000,000; Tungar Gebe N500,000; Gangara, N1, 500,000, while Nannarki and Ruwan Kura will pay the sum of N5,000,000 Naira respectively.”

According to reports, the communities have started mobilizing to pay the bandits.

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When contacted the village head of Zugu confirmed that he received the letters that were sent by the bandits and he was directed to distribute them to the villages mentioned in the letters.

“The letters were sent through some captives who regained freedom after paying a colossal sum of money to the bandits as ransom,” he said.

Also, a youth leader in Bukuyyum local government said that they have already started contributing the money because that was the only way to save their lives as the government at all levels had failed in their responsibilities of protecting the lives and property of the citizens.

He lamented that, “the villagers have no other option than to pay the tax demanded by the bandits if we want our community to remain peaceful”.

Zaharadden Labbo from Ruwan Kura village said, “we were speechless when we received the bandits’ letter but we have no reason not to comply with the bandits’ directives.

“No village in Zamfara, Sokoto or Katsina can boldly refuse to cooperate with the bandits whenever this kind of request is sent. The villagers are now living in agony and sorrow after losing some of our loved ones to the bandits who killed nearly 350 people only two weeks ago”.

The Emir of Bukuyyum, Alhaji Muhammad Usman, said that the emirate was aware of the situation and had since informed the government and security agencies about the sad development.

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