Villagers in several communities in Zamfara were ordered by the new leader of a terrorist group to go to his farm to work it for him, or face violent reprisals.
It is thought 17 men were summoned from six communities in Anka local government area, northwest Nigeria and ordered work on the farm of Kachalla Bello Kaura, the new leader of a terror gang based at a camp in Sunke, Bagega district.
Bello Kaura was announced leader of the gang following the killing of the terrorist group’s previous head, known as Alhaji Shadari.
In January the military under Operation Hadarin Daji launched a military operation against the Sunke camp.
Mamman Hwatsa, from Kawaye village was among the farmhands forced to work on the terrorists’ farm on May 6 and 7. He and others worked clearing the bush to prepare for new crops to be planted.
“The new leader sent one of his boys to our village head asking us to visit his farm for work,” he told HumAngle, “we had no option to refuse his invitation, because nobody else can come to prevent the armed group from attacking us.”
The communities affected by the terrorist kingpin’s order include Makakari, Tsunke, Duhuwa, Kersa all in Bagega District in Anka LGA.
Other communities were exempted from the order because they had sent delegations to the terrorist’s camp acknowledging the change in leadership and pledging allegiance, it is understood.
Buba Garba, a resident of Tangaran village that shared a neighbourhood with the communities affected by the latest terrorists’ order, said “the reason that made the new leader not to include us in his forced invitation was because over 27 villages in Bagega ward went and paid homage to the new leader, signifying that the villages would not be attacked.”
No official statement has been released from the authorities confirming the killing of the previous gang leader. But residents in the area confirmed that the terrorist was killed along with his top lieutenants during one of the fierce military and armed vigilantes battle with the criminal groups in January.
He was on a list of 19 terrorists declared wanted by the Nigerian Army.
HumAngle gathered that there is currently no permanent presence of Nigerian security operatives in Sumke, Kawaye and over a hundred other communities in the region. They attend the villages in reaction to attacks, but have not got any permanent bases in the area.
This has enabled the terrorists to launch attacks on farmers in various villages and hamlets in Anka, Bukuyum and Gummi LGA.
The change in leadership slowed the rate of attacks, residents told HumAngle.
They fear that now a new leader is in place the attacks will increase again.
Another terrorist leader operating in Bukuyum LGA made similar demands in 2022 when he conscripted 240 farmers to work as farmhands.
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