Nigeria: Katsina State Govt Bans Volunteer Vigilante Group, Says Their Activities Worsened Banditry

The incessant killings and onslaught on some communities as a result of clashes between bandits and volunteer vigilantes in the southern zone of Katsina State, has been of massive concern.

Early this year, more than 100 persons were killed in the Bakori – Kankara axis, during a fight between bandits and local volunteer vigilantes who are made of farmers, commonly called ‘Yan-sa-kai’.

Investigations revealed that the local vigilantes in their attempt to rescue cattle that was rustled from the hands of bandits, encountered a fierce attack by the hoodlums which resulted in several casualties.

Similarly, another clash between the warring parties also broke out recently in the Kankara area during a festival, and over 18 people were reportedly killed while several others sustained various degrees of injuries.

This incident happened barely a few days after the state government received a white paper report from the commission, regarding the inquiry it set up to investigate the root cause of the killings of over 100 persons in the affected areas.

Receiving the white paper report, Governor Aminu Bello Masari said his government has decided to look deeper into the incident. Reasons being that the killings were carefully planned and the government would not let findings from the report be swept under the carpet.

He explained, “These killings is a unique situation. People have asked me, ‘We had several bandit attacks previously, and there was never a time we set up a judicial commission of inquiry to find out what happened.

“But this case is unique. I had the opportunity of going through the executive summary of the report and I learned something I didn’t know before.

“This attack was not carried out to rustle or kidnap, it was carefully planned and executed with the sole aim of killing. That’s why I said it’s unique. It was not about rustling or kidnapping. It was a revenge mission that took place, well organised and well executed.”

He added that the government would set up a committee to look at the report under the office of the Secretary to the Government of the State (SGS), to come up with actionable recommendations within the next week for implementation. He assured that it would help in restoring permanent peace in Bakori and Kankara communities.

A community leader of Guga, Mahadi Guga, lamented over the bloody attack, and said they were in great pain and fear since the incident. He urged the government to intensify efforts in taking measures to protect the lives and property of the people.

The state government has since banned the activities of ‘Yan-sa-kai’, the reason being that their operations in the state have aggravated the spate of banditry in the state. And with the recent happenings, the government did not relent to condemn the killings, but continued its investigations to finally restore normalcy to the area.


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