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Tension In Rural Kaduna After Murder Of A Colonel

col Nigerian-armyThe sense of insecurity in Kaduna metropolis especially among the relatively well-offs, has pervaded into far rural areas of the state. It would seem that kidnapping in exchange for ransom is going on a wide scale, with most of the victims being the rich, and most of the cases going unreported out of fear of the repercussion.

The matter got worse with the curious abduction and murder of a serving army colonel, Samaila Yunusa, 44, an indigene of Kano State last weekend. As the army and police are working hard to unravel the motive behind the murder and possibly make arrest,  Saturday Vanguard  made extensive investigations on how Yunusa was killed.

How Col. Yunusa was killed

According to sources within and outside the family of the slain onetime Aide De Camp (ADC) to Vice President of Sierra Leone    in 1997 (when Yunusa served in Liberia as a captain), the murder of the colonel was avoidable if the occupant of the car he was driving in were observant about a certain grey SUV van that had been trailing them, from Dalet Barracks, Kakuri, Kaduna where he lived with his family.

According to a source, “Yunusa had entered his Benz with his wife, Grace, another male adult (name withheld) and their two kids, 8 and 6 years respectively.

“It was around 7:30pm that Saturday evening, and it was not long after we had talked”, the source continued.  “As he started the car, and made to drive out, he suddenly stopped and jumped out of the car, pleading to the rest of the occupants that he forgot a document in the house which he needed to pick.

“He told the wife to take over the steering since the document could be in any of piles of files he had at home and he would take time to fish out the particular document. “As the wife was driving, he was at the back with his two kids sorting for the document from the files he had taken out of the house.

The said document was a guarantor form he had signed for a candidate seeking to join the army as an army recruit. “This is where the problem started: It was said that there was a grey SUV van that had parked not far from the house; that as soon as the wife drove out, the SUV was following as Yunusa was busy sieving the document.

“When they reached Alkali Road, the SUV overtook them and drove on. When they reached Tafawa Balewa Way, they did not notice the SUV parked by the side of the road. As they drove, the van followed but took a different route after a junction. “As they reached the new Yakowa Bridge, on Ibrahim Yakowa Way, they saw the SUV, parked.

All this while, the colonel was still going through piles of documents from the files. “Sadly, no one in the car called the attention of the soldier to the happening”, said the source.

Soon, they reached Kamazo, and veered into a tight narrow road that leads to the home of the in-laws of Yunusa. The source said that the van was right behind them when they reached the gate of the house. “The gate man came and opened half of the gate, ready to open the other half when three men emerged from the SUV and approached the car.

Two of them had pistols and one was carrying an AK47 Rival. They were said to be very young men and were not wearing masks. “They asked the wife who she was. And the colonel replied that she was his wife and asked them what they wanted. “They now told the wife, the two kids and the other male to leave the car and enter the house.

With guns pointing at Yunusa, they drove off with him, the SUV behind them”, said an impeccable source, who asked for anonymity. In no time, as more sources revealed, the Nigeria Army swung into action, setting barricades and storming areas, including villages known for dubious issues around Kaduna.

The Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, One-Mechanized Division, Kaduna, Col. Usman Abdul confirmed the incident and issued the following numbers should the kidnaper want to make contact:

The numbers are still relevant and open for information even now,  Saturday Vangaurd  confirmed from army authority. They are: 08033865572;    08030489203;    08023445961;  07038025282  and  08058130703. It followed with the pledge of N500,000 to anyone with useful information on the whereabouts of the soldier.

The amount was upped to one million the next day. The next day, Yunusa was found dead about 5 kilometrs away from where he was forcefully taken away. His corpse was found on the lonely Kaduna Eastern Bypass which is still under contraction about 17 years after the issuance of the 32km road project contract.

“He was a nice, generous, good gentleman. He never smoked, never drank and was not even the party-going type,” observed a close friend of the deceased. “It is hard to comprehend how this kind of man could have enemies”, he lamented.

The army and the police are not only rattled by this development, but are also worried about the import of such daring murder to the general populace of Kaduna State, which is already overwhelmed by daily incidences of kidnapping and ransom deals.

Shiite denies involvement

As if on cue, the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, IMN, also known as the Nigerian Shiite, issued a statement the next day claiming that there was a ploy to implicate them in the murder.

A statement from the Spokesman of the IMN, Ibrahim Musa made available to newsmen in Kaduna read: “Our attention has been drawn to a false, unsubstantiated and mischievous claim, that looks more like a planned operation aimed at painting the IMN black, of some “intelligence” report that the IMN may plan kidnap of military officers for ransom for the release of our revered leader, His Eminence Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky.

“Typically, this was followed by the alleged kidnap of an army officer in Kaduna with the Nigerian Army issuing statement calling on the public to give information that could lead to the arrest of the perpetrators. Soon, some media outlets were quick to quote these malicious sources linking the IMN with the alleged kidnap.

“We wish to categorically state here that the Islamic Movement in Nigeria under the leadership of His Eminence, Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky has never and will never engage in any form of crime to meet any of its objectives.

Crime and criminal activities are fundamentally sinful and are not in our character.“The Islamic Movement knows that due to official administrative ineptitude and official negligence of constituted authority, a lot of crimes including kidnapping are prevalent in the country.

As a religious body, the IMN condemns and preaches against all forms of crime.Therefore, it is virtually illogical and unreasonable for anyone to presume that the IMN would turn around to engage in such acts of immorality.”  

Kaduna villages now “ATM” for kidnappers

Scores of communities in Lere Local Government Area, LGA, of Kaduna State, especially those in Kahugu District said that they have been under intensive raids 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 to Kaduna metropolis, Kaduna State capital. Findings yesterday by  Saturday Vanguard  which visited Kahugu District  –  one of the most affected–  showed that the initial victims were resident 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 homesteads, 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, Buhari 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 our reporter amidst sobs, “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 midnight. They shot Buhari 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. Saturday Vanguard  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 our reporter.

“He has neither 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 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 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 women, and to stay from being attacked.

They said that they thought 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 daylight 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 incidents in Kahugu Chiefdom. His words: “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 plainclothes men. So, there is no problem there”, he said, contrary to the sad reality in Kahugu Chiefdom.

Kidnapping, cattle rustling have overwhelmed us –  Miyetti Allah

The Chairman, Miyetti Allah Cattle Herders Association, North West Zone, Ardo Ahamadu Suleiman last Tuesday complained to Senator Shehu Sani (APC, Kaduna Central), that the spade of abduction of elderly Fulani men and young women had reached an overwhelming level not only in Kajuru LGA, where he was on a visit to the herdsmen, but in the entire state.

Sani who had driven deep into the bush to a village, Rafin Roro, Kasuwan Magani Chiefdom of Kajuru LGA, met a throng of herdsmen, who said that live was getting unbearable. Said Suleiman: “There is no day that an elderly man and young woman are not kidnapped. It is not only in this local government, but all over the state.

We have paid so much ransom that we don’t know what to do. Some families have sold all their cattle, including sheep and chicken to meet the demand. “Right now they are holding an old man from among us here.

They are asking for two million naira. Despite that, they still come over and raid our cows. As if that is not enough, we cannot move our animals freely without farmers accusing us of trespassing. So, we are asking for government to find a place that we can carry out modern ranching. We are tired of wondering around”, he said.

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