From Noah Ebije, Kaduna
No fewer than 323 persons were killed and 949 kidnapped by bandits in the last three months across Kaduna State.
This was even as the military troops neutralised 64 bandits and arrested several gunrunners during the period under review.
The State Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, disclosed this on Friday, while giving the security situation in the state for the first quarter of 2021.
According to Aruwan, “the report covers banditry, kidnapping, cattle-rustling, attacks, and reprisal attacks.
“The report also includes the aerial missions conducted over identified bandits hideouts and locations across the state, during which multiple scores of bandits were engaged and neutralised and their camps destroyed.
“Deaths linked to banditry, violent attacks, communal clashes and reprisals in the first quarter totalled 323 across the state. Of this, 20 were women and 11 were minors.
“Out of the 323 citizens killed, 292 were males. All the 236 of the deaths occurred in Birnin Gwari, Chikun, Igabi, Giwa and Kajuru LGAs.
“Birnin Gwari recorded the highest figure of 77 deaths, followed by Chikun with 52, Igabi 45,Giwa 42, Kajuru 20 deaths in the first quarter.
“Southern Kaduna Senatorial District had 68 deaths in total, of which five were women and two below the age of 18.
“ Kajuru had 28 deaths, followed by Zangon Kataf with 14 and Kagarko with 12
“And the Northern senatorial zone is the least affected with 19 people killed, while Zaria has the highest casualty of six.
“As earlier highlighted, 64 armed bandits were neutralised during engagements with ground forces.
“Multiple scores of bandits were neutralised via about 150 targeted aerial missions conducted by the Niger Air force. These missions were initiated based on credible intelligence of bandit activity and locations of camps, which were targeted and destroyed.
“Several gunrunners have been intercepted and arrested with arms and ammunition recovered in the first quarter. About 36 AK47 Rifles, 1959 rounds of live ammunition and one rocket-propelled grenade were recovered.
“Vigorous investigations are ongoing towards dismantling more gunrunning networks and block arms routes into the state, as these are central to the perpetuation of violence and armed banditry, through the trade in small arms and light weapons”.
Aruwan however, added, “the Kaduna State government reiterates it’s empathy towards individuals and groups who have suffered terrible loss and untold hardship as a result of violence and insecurity, and of its resolve to intensify efforts towards enduring peace and security across the state”