Residents of Tofa, a village in Zamfara State, northwestern Nigeria, have deserted their community fearing that fleeing terrorists would return and attack them after they were chased away by soldiers of the Nigerian Army.
The residents who have run to Gusau, the capital of Zamfara for safety, said they were also concerned after being warned by the military who suspected them of hiding the terrorists.
“After they chased the terrorists, the soldiers told us that if they come back they will not spare anyone,” said a resident who didn’t mention his name.
Reports have indicated that whenever terrorists were confronted by locals, they went back and prepared for a reprisal attack.
This has discouraged locals from facing them despite the government’s call for people to protect themselves.
According to Isa Ruwan Tofa, the District Head of Tofa, the terrorists invaded Tofa on Jan. 28, and raped women and girls in broad daylight after demanding payment for the tax they imposed on them.
Some of the residents who spoke to HumAngle said the terrorists who have continued terrorising them were former repentants but who broke a peace deal with them.
“The elder son of Buharin Daji is the one terrorising the village. His boys come with motorcycles and pass this place,” a resident said.
Terrorists operate freely in some remote communities of northwestern Nigeria because they have more sophisticated weapons than residents.
According to Yusuf Anka, a security analyst, when peace and reconciliation efforts were made between the residents and the terrorists, some of the terrorists didn’t drop their weapons and continued moving freely in villages.
“That’s why some villages are accused of harbouring terrorists,” said Anka. “You can’t expect armless residents to go against terrorists wielding guns and heavy weapons.”
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