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Nigeria: Bandits tax communities to avoid attacks in Zamfara

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Nigeria: Bandits tax communities to avoid attacks in Zamfara

By: Our Reporter

Bandits reportedly levied three communities in Shinkafi local government area of Zamfara state, Northwest Nigeria, N3 million each (about $3000 USD) to a notorious bandit kingpin, known as Dan Bokolo, in order to avert attacks by the group terrorizing the communities.

NEWSng also gathered that the payment is believed to be a consequence of the alleged provision of information to security operatives by residents of Kamarawa, Sabuwar Kamarawa, and Gebe that led to the arrest of Dan Bokolo’s brother, Abdullahi.

While the state governor, Dauda Lawal, has maintained a stance against negotiating with terrorists, local sources indicate that the payment was made to ensure the safety of the communities.

According to a resident who spoke anonymously, the arrest of Abdullahi triggered tension as Dan Bokolo believed that individuals from these communities had betrayed his brother.

In an effort to broker peace, community elders engaged in negotiations with the terrorist. Eventually, Dan Bokolo agreed to accept a reduced sum of N3 million, down from his initial demand of N6 million, as compensation for the perceived betrayal.

Peace advocate and human rights activist Basharu Guyawa highlighted that such protection levies have become commonplace in eastern Sokoto and Zamfara.

While the communities have reportedly complied with the demands, concerns remain about the bandit’s commitment to refraining from future attacks.

Terrorists in Zamfara, as well as neighboring Sokoto and Katsina, have been known to impose levies on local communities.

This practice has been documented in previous instances, including the payment of N19 million by 14 communities in Anka Local Government to secure their safety and agricultural activities.

The Senior Special Assistant to the Zamfara state governor on broadcast and public affairs, Mustapha Jafaru, clarified that the state government was not involved in the agreement.

“Governor Dauda Lawal has consistently emphasized that the government will not engage in negotiations with criminals,” he said.

He reaffirmed the government’s commitment to protecting the people of Zamfara State.

Recall that for over a decade, terrorists have operated in the northwestern region of Nigeria, with their activities escalating after the 2019 general election.

Terrorists have targeted travelers on major highways and carried out attacks on rural communities, leading to widespread insecurity and humanitarian concerns.

Basharu Guyawa, in his opinion, said that the levy being paid by these communities from previous payments as such is never a guarantee that the bandits will not attack again.

Nigeria: Bandits tax communities to avoid attacks in Zamfara

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