Friday, February 5, 2021

Residents Flee Zaria Neighbourhoods Over Kidnappers’ Rampage


In the ancient city of Zaria, rising cases of violent abductions of residents is forcing many to flee their neighbourhoods for safety.
When gunmen invaded Kuregu-Wusasa in Zaria on January 25, killed a soldier, a civilian, and abducted six others near the railway tracks, a seven-year-old boy heard of the incident.
The gunmen had engaged security agents in a shoot-out, which led to the killing of the soldier. They then set ablaze a military vehicle.
The boy is the son of Malam Musa Shehu, a resident of Tsallaken Dogo in Zaria, who said his son has been traumatized since the event.
Shehu, who still resides in the community after some residents fled due to insecurity, said he fears for his family’s safety but he has nowhere to go to.
“My son has consistently asked me: ‘Daddy when are we relocating?’ but I told him to be patient because this is our home and I was born here. We have no other home to go to, we have now resorted to special prayers for God’s intervention,” he said.
The incident happened one week after gunmen attacked the home of Professor Aliyu Muhammad, the Head of Department, Crop Production at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University (ATBU), Bauchi, abducted him and killed his son, Abdulaziz Aliyu.
Two other abductions have occurred in Zaria within the last week with residents reporting that one involved a medical practitioner and the other involved security agents.
Residents told our correspondent that with recurring abductions, the ancient city of Zaria is under siege from kidnappers. Zaria is host to numerous Federal Government and state institutions, including the prestigious Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Aviation College, Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, military schools and barracks as well as the Nuhu Bamalli Polytechnic.
Prior to the last three months, Zaria had remained relatively peaceful despite banditry around forests within its neighbouring LGA’s of Giwa and Birnin Gwari. However, since November, residents say the ancient city has come under the threat of bandits and kidnappers who target residents, then sneak into the city mostly at night to abduct them for ransom.

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