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Nigeria’s Zamfara State imposes Emergency Curfew to Halt Terrorist Convoys

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Nigeria’s Zamfara State imposes Emergency Curfew to Halt Terrorist Convoys

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Truth Nigeria

Nigeria’s terrorist-bandit pandemic began in Zamfara in 2011 but in recent years has snowballed into virtually all states of Northern Nigeria.

Despite the combined efforts of the Nigerian military and local security guards in fighting terrorists and kidnappers, the terrorists in Zamfara have upped their game, leading to mass kidnappings and murders.

The dire situation in the state has prompted the Zamfara state government on April 2, 2024, to impose a curfew on the ever-busy Sokoto-Gusau-Funtua Highway carrying trucks from the capital of Sokoto to a hub city in southern Katsina. Announcement set the nation’s talk shows into high dudgeon for a day. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gb8nuBJtS8w

The security measures would be enforced along the shared border with Katsina State in the Yankara area and along the shared border with Sokoto State in the Bimbila area.

The curfew, which lasts from 7 p.m. until 6 a.m., is for an indefinite period. During curfew hours, most vehicles are blocked, except for security forces and personnel conducting essential duties.

Before the imposition of the curfew, Gov. Dauda Lawal visited President Bola Tinubu on March 27, 2024; shortly afterwards, he spoke to the press, explaining that despite all efforts by his government to end the criminal activities in the state, bandits continue to have a field day in many counties of the state.

“Zamfara has become the center of banditry as we speak today, and if nothing is done in Zamfara State, I don’t think we will be able to solve the situation in entire Northern Nigeria,” Gov. Lawal said.

Gambo Abubakar Tsafe, a veteran journalist who has covered the activities of terrorists in the north-west of Nigeria for over 12 years, has said that the state is gradually losing the war against terrorism.

“A few weeks ago, bandits from neighboring Katsina State stormed Tsafe [County] to kidnap many people, but a terrorist, Ado Aleru (the terrorist kingpin) who is the de facto leader of Tsafe, resisted them and killed more than 30 of the terrorists from Katsina.

“The intriguing thing about the attack and response from Ado Aleru is that the state and federal governments could not prevent the Katsina terrorists from attacking Zamfara.

“It was another powerful terrorist that stopped them, and that came at a cost. Furthermore, there was nothing that the government could do for Ado Aleru.

“On March 27, 2024, terrorists attacked the community of Mutunji in Maru County. There were no reports of injuries or fatalities.

However, the attack displaced 230 individuals in 42 households to the tsunami community in the county.

Mutunji has been the center of a bloody, bandit-contested war zone for years.

Until he was brought down by a hail of army bullets on March 14, Damina commanded hundreds of mercenaries. But he is among scores of terrorist-bandit leaders who are followed by as many as 30,000 armed kidnappers, according to Prof. Murtala Ahmed el-Rufa’i author of I Am A Bandit (2021).

“The Kuriga school children who were kidnapped in Kaduna were found in Zamfara.
journalist Tsafe said to TruthNigeria.

It simply shows that the state has been left at the mercy of terrorists who are carving out empires or caliphates for themselves.

Can Curfew Stave Off Terrorism and Banditry?

While the state government believes that security measures taken via the imposition of a curfew and the launching of Community Protection Guards will greatly curtail the transit of criminal gangs, security experts contacted by TruthNigeria say they disagree.

Speaking exclusively to TruthNigeria, security expert and retired Naval officer, Navy Captain Umar Bakori, noted that the issue of corruption must be totally dealt with first.

“Firstly, the issue of corruption must be dealt with, and monies must be properly allocated to the procurement of arms and ammunition for the troops and security outfits,” Bakori said.

“Secondly, the state and federal governments must utilize the enormous potential of human resources to fight terrorism and banditry, ” Bakori went on to say.

“The Vigilance Group of Nigeria has over one million trained personnel all over Nigeria. They were trained by the Army and police, and they are indigenous to their communities. If you incorporate such a group into the military, we shall in no time decimate the terrorists,” Bakori added.

For analyst Gambo Abubakar, all the remote villages except their administrative headquarters in all 14 local governance areas [counties] of Zamfara are controlled by bandits or terrorists. A TruthNigeria survey of farmers in all local governance areas reported that farmers large and small are paying so-call rents in order to cultivate their own land, giving criminal syndicates controlling Zamfara State the equivalent of $10 million in 2023.

For Abubakar Tsafe, the imposition of curfew would not stop attacks from Sokoto, Niger, or Katsina states because the military lacks the numbers to effectively patrol the highways and the unofficial routes through which the terrorists operate.

“You need more boots on the ground. You need more locals as security personnel to monitor the terrorists and attack them,” Tsafe said.

Getting Help From Outside
“Foreign terrorists from the Sahel countries are trooping into Zamfara, thanks to the porosity of the country’s borders, especially Zamfara, Tsafe added.

“The terrorists are responding to all the moves by the state government by calling on their nomadic fighters from neighbouring countries. This is what has given the terrorists longevity and constant supply of men and weapons,” he went on to say.

To put an end to this situation the Nigerian army and customs service would have to Stop illicit movements across the nation’s borders.

“There should be the closure of the country’s borders with Niger Republic, a joint and coordinated military action by Niger, Kaduna, Sokoto and Kaduna against the terrorists,” Tsafe said.

“We must also take the fight to the terrorists or criminals in their hideouts in the bush or mountains,” he added.

TruthNigeria.