Armed ViolenceNews

Farmers Hold 2 Women Captive As Negotiating Pawns In Zamfara

There have been growing reports of reprisal abductions and attacks targeted at Fulani people due to the violent activities of armed men in northwestern Nigeria. Yesterday, farmers in Birnin-Magaji community took captive of two innocent milkmaids as negotiating pawns in response to the recent abduction of four farmers.

Farmers of Birnin-Magaji community in Zamfara State on Tuesday, Aug. 28 abducted two milkmaids suspected to be Fulani women in retaliation for the abduction of their fellow members.

The farmers say they were angered by the sudden abduction of four innocent persons by the armed terrorist group at about 4:30 pm WAT in northwestern Nigeria. The attack came while they were harvesting their millet at their respective farmlands located in Damfami, Birnin-Magaji LGA. 

Eyewitnesses in the area say five motorcycles were also whisked away by the armed marauders during the attack. 

Abubakar Makeri, aged 57, a farmer from Damfami village, narrowly escaped the ghastly attack when the terrorists invaded their farming area. He told HumAngle, “I didn’t notice that the armed group was approaching my farm when I was busy rushing to harvest my millet. Only to discover that we were  surrounded by the gun-carrying chaps.”

“They stopped me at gunpoint and asked for my motorcycle which I didn’t have. They seized my mobile phone, directing me to join the group of seven people they abducted. As we walked, one armed gang took a different direction trying to reach other farmers some metres away. Two of us took that advantage and sneaked away,” Makeri added. 

The abducted victims are all from Birnin-Magaji town. Reacting to the incident, the community abducted two Fulani women who were in the town to sell cow milk.  

The retaliation 

“We have to ‘arrest’ the women because they are the wives and mothers of the bandits. One of them is said to be a close-knit sibling of Shehu Bagiwaye, the hard-to-knock bandit in Birnin-Magaji LGA,” a source who craved anonymity told HumAngle.

He added, “these Fulanis have been keeping our peace to the throat. They know us, we know them and have known one another since childhood. So we now resorted to this cause of action. Whenever they abduct our people, we arrest their fellow Fulanis to open the door for negotiation in exchange for the captives. Period!”

Armed terrorists have renewed attacks on farming communities of Shinkafi, Zurmi and Birnin-Magaji LGAs in the northern parts of the Zamfara State. 

HumAngle contacted Yazid Abubakar, the Police Public Relations Officer of the Zamfara State Police Command on the inquiry for comment, but no response from the Police Command regarding the development up to the time this report was compiled. 

There was a recent case of residents in Anka, Zamfara, setting fire to camps occupied by internally displaced Fulani people, in what has been identified as reprisal attacks. Ethnic profiling of the Fulani has been on the rise, including in places like Sokoto.

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