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How NAF Airstrikes Killed Zamfara Bandits’ Leaders, Others

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Alhaji Auta (right) was killed in the air raid PHOTO: James Barnett

Early morning airstrikes by personnel of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Saturday morning claimed the lives of two kingpins and about a dozen other bandits operating around Birnin Magaji Local Government Area of Zamfara State.

Daily Trust on Sunday gathered that a notorious bandit, Alhaji Auta, was killed when a military jet dropped a bomb on him as he was being conveyed on a motorcycle from his camp to the location of his herds of cattle, early in the morning.

The sustained attacks also claimed the lives of many of his gang around his camp and adjoining areas.

The raid on Auta’s camp is a second major victory recorded by the air force within the space of a month, after the raid that killed the twin kingpins, Tawaye, in Dumburum in the first week of December.

Multiple sources confirmed Auta’s death yesterday, though there was no official report on the operation.

A resident of the area who doesn’t want to be mentioned said the bomb that killed the bandit was dropped on him while riding along Nasarawa Mailayi-Gusami Road.  

While Auta’s death was corroborated by the sources who spoke to our reporter, the account of what followed after the first airstrike that killed him differed.  

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A resident of Birnin Magaji, who gave his name as Jamilu, said 12 of Auta’s men were eliminated when they rushed to the scene to pick his body.

But two sources however gave the casualty in the second attack as seven, who, they said, were killed after Auta’s funeral.

Aliyu Birnin Magaji, another resident, said the jet returned to the area three times, after killing Auta, including around 9:30pm last night.

“Mourners who had gathered after he was killed were bombed and seven of them were killed. After the jet left, their friends came back to move the bodies but the jet returned and bombed them. Right now no one knows how many were killed as no one is willing to go there,” he said.

Aside Auta, another arrowhead in his group, Kachalla Ruga, was also reported dead 

Auta is among the four arrowheads of the gunmen terrorising the Birnin Magaji area, others being Alhaji Shingi, Alhaji Nashama and Shehu Bagewaye.

Commenting on the operation, a researcher who recently interviewed Auta, James Barnett, described Auta as a “deadly bandit” as he called for a concerted effort on all fronts to consolidate the aftermath.

“He was also a de facto powerbroker in Birnin Magaji. He kept that area from being overrun by other gangs like that of Turji and he had historically been one of the key negotiators in previous amnesty deals in Zamfara State.

“Federal and state governments need to be prepared for handling any fallout of his death, including bandits staging reprisals against local communities, Auta’s gang fracturing, or bandits who had been in amnesty talks withdrawing from these talks. Coordination between state and federal governments and all security agencies is needed to ensure that kinetic and non-kinetic actions are in sync and complement each other,” he said.

Daily Trust

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Lagos traditional ruler jailed 15 years

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A Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja has sentenced a traditional ruler to a 15-year jail term for faking his kidnap.

Mutiu Ogundare, who a deposed Baale of Shangisha in the Magodo area of Lagos, was found guilty of the offence by the court.

Justice Hakeem Oshodi sentenced Ogundare having convicted him of the two counts, bordering on breach of peace and fake kidnapping.

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Midnight gunshots, burglars terrify Lagos community

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Abule Taylor community in the Abule Egba area

Residents of Abule Taylor community in the Abule Egba area of Lagos State have lamented incessant gunshots every midnight in the area.

The residents, who spoke to our correspondent, also decried the activities of burglars and miscreants who terrorised people in the community.

A resident, who identified himself simply as Biggie for security reasons, said he realised he was not the only one aware of the situation when he got a call from a neighbour while another shooting was going on.

He said, “A neighbour called my phone one midnight to alert me when he heard the gunshots. I told him that wasn’t the first time such was happening. It has been the case since a man in the neighbourhood was shot dead inside his house while wrestling with armed robbers.”

Another resident, Kola Ajayi, said the neighbourhood also had the same challenge in 2019.

“It was after the community hired vigilantes that the gunshots stopped. Now, the situation is repeating itself,” he added.

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The Chairman, Abule Taylor Community Development Association, Oluwaniyi Emmanuel, confirmed the situation to our correspondent but said “it’s been a while I heard the sound.”

He, however, lamented the activities of miscreants and burglars in the area.

Emmanuel said, “The house opposite the open space where we hold our CDA meetings was recently broken into by burglars who carted away all the property. The principal culprit is from Abiodun Aina Street. He has been disowned by his mother.

“Also, armed robbers do attack and extort those who use Automated Teller Machines in the area. The kiosks where alcoholic drinks are sold in the area are becoming a safe haven for criminals who launch operations from the base.

“We’ve complained to the Lagos State Government, but no serious action was taken. The joint CDA wrote a letter to the Commissioner of Police to deploy officers in the area. However, what the officers were doing was checking vehicle particulars.”

The CDA Assistant Chairman, Okolo Chukwuedo, said, “There was a time a man was killed on the street where the CDA chairman lives. His house was broken into by the people who shot him dead.”

The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, SP Benjamin Hundeyin, could not be reached for comments as of press time.

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Zamfara Killing: MURIC hails media for fair reporting

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Director, Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), Prof Ishaq Lakin Akintola

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), has hailed the Nigerian media for properly reporting the killing of Muslims in Zamfara last Friday, September 23, 2022.

MURIC commendation is contained in a press statement signed Sunday by its Director, Prof. Ishaq Akintola.

However, theIslamic human rights organization slammed the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) for falsely claiming that it was only Christians that are being killed in Nigeria.

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The statement reads in part: “Terrorists invaded the Friday prayer mosque in Ruwan Jema town in Bukkuyum Local Government Area of Zamfara State Friday, 23rd September, 2022 killing fifteen (15) and injuring forty eight (48) Muslim worshippers. The armed men hid their guns inside their clothes and pretended to be worshippers. They opened fire on innocent worshippers after entering the mosque.

“MURIC is particularly impressed by the manner in which the killing was reported. Unlike in the past when the killing of Muslims attract little or no media attention and mere casualty figures are given while the religion of the victims are deliberately left out, this time around, the Nigerian press really went to town with stories of the Zamfara killings and most media houses identified the victims as Muslims. This is quite laudable.

“The Media Monitoring Unit (MMU) of MURIC reported the use of the following captions in different media houses to describe the Zamfara killings (https://saharareporters.com/2022/09/24/breaking-scores-worshippers-killed-terrorists-attack-zamfara-mosque-during-jumaathttps://dailypost.ng/2022/09/24/bandits-invade-mosque-kill-15-worshippers-in-zamfara/https://www.thecable.ng/15-worshippers-killed-as-bandits-attack-mosque-in-zamfarahttps://muslimnews.com.ng/2022/09/25/terrorists-attack-zamfara-mosque-during-jumaat-prayer-kill-15-worshippers-turkiye-envoy-mourns/https://www.vanguardngr.com/2022/09/bandits-attack-zamfara-mosque-kill-15-worshippers-2/https://pmnewsnigeria.com/2022/09/24/terrorists-shoot-15-worshippers-dead-in-zamfara-mosque/https://www.thisdaylive.com/index.php/2022/09/25/terrorists-invade-mosque-kill-15-worshippers-injure-others-in-zamfara/https://punchng.com/bandits-attack-zamfara-mosque-gun-down-worshippers/https://tribuneonlineng.com/gunmen-kill-15-worshippers-in-mosque-in-zamfara/https://www.channelstv.com/2022/09/24/terrorists-attack-zamfara-mosque-kill-at-least-11/https://thenationonlineng.net/bandits-invade-zamfara-mosque-kill-15-worshippers/)

“Even some foreign media like Voice of America (VOA) and Reuters were not left out of the fair reportage (https://www.voanews.com/a/armed-bandits-kill-15-at-mosque-in-northwest-nigeria-residents-say-/6761811.htmlhttps://www.reuters.com/world/africa/armed-bandits-kill-15-mosque-northwest-nigeria-residents-2022-09-24/https://newscentral.africa/fifteen-killed-forty-eight-injured-as-bandits-ransack-zamfara-mosque/) We salute them all.   

“However, a few media houses need to be awake to the sensitivity of the revelation of identities when reporting incidents like this. It may not have been deliberate, but newsmen need to be conscious of the need not only to be fair but also to be seen to have been fair. At least one or two media houses left out the identity of the faith of the victims of the Zamfara killing (https://www.tvcnews.tv/2018/06/police-confirm-fresh-attack-in-zamfara-village-15-killed/https://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/headlines/265729-police-confirm-15-killed-in-zamfara-attack.html).

“Both the press and non-governmental organisations should be partners in progress. We cherish the emerging culture of equity, fairness and professionalism in reportage. Both Christians and Muslims deserve fair representation in media reports. This will promote peaceful coexistence among the different faiths.

 “The manner of reporting the Zamfara killings thus revealed the fact that it was Muslims that were killed and injured last Friday. We therefore wonder how the Christian Association of Nigeria arrived at its conclusion that only Christians were being killed in Nigeria and it tried to sell such a dangerous idea to the West, knowing it to be false.

“MURIC is constrained to ask CAN if the 15 worshippers killed and the 48 injured in Zamfara mosque last Friday were also Christians? What of the 200 worshippers killed and the 165 injured in Boko Haram’s bomb attack in Kano Central Mosque on 28th November 2014 (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-30250950)? Were they also Christians? Do Christians attend Jumu’ah prayers in mosques?

“The intention and likely outcome of such vicious lies are not lost on us. America and its Western allies like Britain, France and Germany are likely to impose travel sanctions on Muslim leaders in government, label some Islamic organisations in Nigeria as terrorist groups, place some Islamic scholars on terror watch and begin a process of secret supply of weapons to Christian leaders and Nigerian churches.

“But the greatest benefit would have been a geometric increase in the pouring of monetary support in billions of dollars, euro and British pounds to Christian leaders and groups.

“MURIC condemns the killing of innocent Muslims who had only gone to the mosque for their Jumu’ah prayer last Friday. For the umpteenth time, we reiterate our stand that terrorists and bandits are not part of us. They belong to the evil circle of criminals. They are not part of the Muslim community.

“They are rebellious subjects and enemies of peace. Nobody, therefore, should associate them or their actions with the peace-loving and law-abiding Muslims of Nigeria. In the same vein, it will be naïve for any individual or group within or outside the country to link the actions of terrorists and bandits with the Nigerian government.

“We commiserate with Bello Matawalle, the governor of Zamfara, on the senseless killing of innocent citizens of his state. We pray that Allah will forgive the dead and grant the bereaved families the fortitude to bear the loss and the economic empowerment to take care of dependants left behind by their bread winners. Above all, we pray for peace in Zamfara, the entire North and the rest of Nigeria.”

Eagle

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