Lere: Fulani, locals, cry for help as “strange” Fulani intensify extortions for ransom

Lere: Fulani, locals, cry for help as “strange” Fulani intensify extortions for ransom

By Our Reporter

Scores of communities  in Lere Local Government Area, LGA, of Kaduna state, especially those in Kahugu District said that they have been under intensive raid by strange Fulani men who kill their young men and abduct women in exchange for millions in ransom.
Kahugu District is about 4 hours drive east of Kaduna metropolis, Kaduna state capital.

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Findings  yesterday by reporters who visited  Kahugu district – one of the most affected – showed that the initial victims were residents Fulani herdsmen who were extorted between N500,000 and N2 million per family in exchanged for their lives and cattle. But, in recent times, the bandits have extended their crimes to the native Kahugu who are mainly subsistent farmers.

In Kaduru, an isolated village of about 200 homestead, sited on a flat plain bounded by low woody hills, a group of mourners had gathered under the canopy of mango trees in the compound of Pa Danjuma, whose  son, Dobin Danjuma, 29 was shot point-blank on the head  by the assailants, before kidnapping an 8-month pregnant mother of four, two days earlier.

“They wrote this village a letter last week that we must keep N3 million for them”, Ester Duniya (not real name) told reporters amidst sob, “but we have been giving them money before”,  she said of the alleged Fulani invaders.

“Our men have been meeting over this problem when they came in the night around 12. They shot Wobin in the head, shot another woman in the leg, and went to another house and kidnapped one woman (Gloria Bala)  who is 8 months pregnant”, she said.

“They have been calling the husband to bring N1.5 million, or they will kill the wife”, she said.
Reporters found the husband of the abducted woman, Yusuf Bala, 32, under a tree surrounded by folks as he awaited  to receive communication from the outlaws.

He  refused to speak to the press.
“He has not eaten nor slept for the third day today”, an unkempt looking fellow in farm clothes told reporters.

“His four children have been crying to him for their mother and he is does not know how to raise that kind of money”, he observed, “so please leave him alone and go and tell government to come and save us from this hell”, he said with a wave of his hands.

Speaking with reporters on grounds of anonymity for their personal security, it was revealed that local Fulani residents are fleeing Kahugu villages after paying so much ransom to secure the release of their abducted woman or to stay from being attacked. They said that they though the problem was a Fulani versus Fulani affair, until the criminality started  hitting the natives  early this year.

They insisted that the robbers were Fulani, but strange to the area.

The villagers said that it was rampant issue all over the place, as the bandits seemed to have turned the villages into some kind of Automated Teller Machines, ATM.

It was estimated that the brigands usually number between 8 and 12 and all had Ak 47 riffles each, pairing themselves on motor bikes.

At times, according to the natives, they set up roadblocks in broad day light and robbed, leaving death casualties behind in some cases.

There is  imminent fear and frustration in the community visited, as they complained that the police and government had done nothing to protect them since the violence and extortion started around November last year.

Reacting on the issue, Kaduna State Police Spokesman, DSP Zubairu  Abubakar, said that he had been briefed by the Police in Lere  LGA on the matter, saying there was only one of such incident in Kahugu Chiefdom.

He said: “The DPO there briefed me now. He said that there was only one of such incidents. He said that the hoodlums had kidnapped two women and that when the police was contacted, they came and gave the criminals a hot pursuit. That the thieves had no choice than to abandon the woman and flee.

“He said that they have deployed adequate police to the area, including plainclothesmen. So, there is no problem there”, he said, contrary to the sad reality in Kahugu Chiefdom.

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