Killings: Zamfara IDPs cases soar as 5 more camps opened


Armed bandits attacks on Zamfara have continued to increase the number of Internally Displaced Persons in Maradun Local Government area of the state.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that victims from different villages in the local government area are continuously moving to Maradun town.

Five IDPs camps have now been established while registration is ongoing at all the centers.

Addressing newsmen at one of centers, the Councillor, Maradun ward, Sirajo Madugu, said communities from about 50 villages had been sacked by bandits.

Mr Madugu said some communities were leaving their villages due to the attacks, while others for fear of imminent attack.

He said: “we cannot ascertain the number of displaced persons for now because it is increasing by the day”.

The Chairman of yhe Council, Yahaya Shehu, warned the IDPs to report any suspected person among them, to prevent informers from infiltrating the camps.

The chairman said with assistance of the state government, all the necessary requirement by the IDPs would be provided.

Recall that Amnesty International, on Tuesday, had reported that more than 371 people have been killed in the on-going banditry in the state since January.

The global watchdog made the disclosure in a report it released on Tuesday, saying that the daily killings and kidnappings by armed bandits had left the villagers in constant fear of attack.

The Director of the global watchdog, Osai Ojigho, lamented that, “the authorities’ failure to act has left villagers in Zamfara at the mercy of armed bandits, who have killed hundreds of people over the course of two bloody years.”

He said: “This is Nigeria’s forgotten conflict.

“When we visited the region, villagers told us that they had pleaded with the government to help them after receiving warning letters from the bandits ahead of attacks but had received no protection.

“The Nigerian authorities have repeatedly claimed to be tackling the situation, but the mounting death toll tells a different story.”

Amnesty reports that on Friday 27 July, 18 villages in the Mashema, Kwashabawa and Birane districts of Zurmi local government area of Zamfara state were attacked, leaving at least 42 people dead.

At least 18,000 residents of the affected villages who were displaced over the weekend are now taking refuge at various locations in the local government headquarters.

The following day a further 15 people were kidnapped in Maradun local government area.

On Saturday 28 July, President Muhammadu Buhari announced the deployment of 1,000 troops to Zamfara.

This is the third time since November 2017 that the authorities have deployed the military in response to attacks, but villagers told Amnesty International that this has not translated into protection for remote, vulnerable communities.

“Previous military interventions have failed to end the killings, especially in rural areas of Zamfara. At least 371 people have been killed in Zamfara in 2018 alone, and at least 238 of these killings took place after the deployment of the Nigerian air force.

“The government is still neglecting the most vulnerable communities in this region,” Mr Ojigho said.

Between Sunday 7 and Thursday 12 July, Amnesty International visited communities in five local government areas of Zamfara state – Zurmi, Maradun, Maru, Anka and Tsafe.

Although security forces were present in the state capital Gusau, researchers saw soldiers and air force personnel in only two of the villages they visited, Birane and Bagega.

Villagers described feeling helpless and on edge, constantly bracing themselves for attacks.