Agaju Madugba, Katsina
Ahead of the rescheduled presidential and National Assembly elections, armed bandits have continued to terrorise a number of communities in Batsari Local Government Area of Katsina State.
On Thursday afternoon, reports indicated that hundreds of women and children who fled their homes were currently taking refuge at the Model Primary school, Batsari.
The development may be connected with an incident last weekend when bandits launched an attack on Kasai village in the area, killing an army captain at a military formation and five residents.
Governor Aminu Bello Masari had in the company of the Commissioner of Police, Sanusi Buba, and some other senior security personnel, visited the area to condole the families of the deceased.
In spite of the security beef up in the area, a competent source said that the bandits also struck on Wednesday night killing at least one person at Ruma Tsohowa village and carting away an unspecified number of cattle.
The source said: “No night has passed after the first attack that the bandits do not attack one village or the other here. The latest was carried out in Ruma Tsohowa last night (Wednesday) where one person was killed and they carted away many animals.”
The source listed some of the sacked villages to include, Garin Labo, Garin Yara, Kasai, Sabon Garin Dunburawa, Dantudun Garin Yara, Shingi and Garin Dodo.
But speaking at a press briefing on Thursday, the Commissioner of Police noted that the flight of the villagers might be linked with the beef up of security in the area “as they are apprehensive that there may be a bloody encounter between the security personnel and the bandits.
Masari had in a recent pronouncement declared Katsina State as being under the siege of bandits, cattle rustlers and kidnappers.
However, the police reassured on Thursday that the security situation in the state was under control and that Saturday’s elections would hold across the 34 local government areas including those sharing borders with the dreaded Rugu forest, said to be a den for bandits, cattle rustlers, and other criminal elements.
According to Buba, “we have made adequate arrangement to provide security for all voters to come out en masse and cast their votes without any fears of harassment or molestation.
“All the nine frontline local government areas bordering the Rugu forest are being fortified with roving patrols, to protect voters and safeguard INEC staff and materials.
“Deployment of policemen and personnel from other sister-security agencies have also been concluded and any attempt by any persons or group of persons to undermine the electoral process will be tackled decisively.”