In a chilling wave of terror, more than 100 residents of Mutunji town in Zamfara State, Nigeria, have been abducted by armed militants associated with Damina, a notorious terrorist kingpin operating in the region.
The attack unfolded on Friday night, shortly after the Isha’i prayer, as the gunmen on motorbikes encircled the community, plunging it into chaos.
According to eyewitnesses who spoke to BBC Hausa Services, the victims were taken into the forest, and it has emerged that the abduction was a consequence of the villagers failing to meet Damina’s exorbitant tax demand of N50 million.
The absence of any official statement from security forces further deepens the anxiety surrounding the incident.
Narrating the horrifying experience, a local resident stated, “We were sitting in a place called Yar Kasuwa after the Isha’i prayers when the terrorists stormed the community.
“They surrounded the community while others drove into the community center.
“We began running, but it was already too late. They marched the people into the forest.”
Men, women, and children were indiscriminately targeted by the gunmen, reflecting the brutal nature of the attack.
Residents revealed that the area has long been plagued by these criminals, who harass tax collectors and exploit opportunities like the ongoing collection efforts.
“We are trying to collect the money – twenty and fifty to be collected, but suddenly the bandits came in and robbed people.
Damina took more than a hundred people, and most of them were women and young people,” expressed a local resident, emphasizing the vulnerability of the targeted population.
One fortunate survivor credited knowledge of the forest for narrowly escaping captivity
The gunmen reportedly withdrew from the town after the expiration of a one-week deadline they had set for the villagers to gather the demanded N50 million.
Beyond Mutunji, other neighboring communities, including Kwana, Sabon Mahuta, and Unguwar Kawo, have also been coerced into contributing substantial sums to Damina.
The total amount demanded from these villages reached a staggering N110 million, underscoring the audacity of the criminal network.
Residents decried the lack of security officers in the area, asserting that the terrorists wield control.
Forced labor in the form of agricultural work and subsequent pilfering of town resources have become a distressing routine, with the assailants enjoying stolen goods without consequence.
As the affected communities grapple with the aftermath, urgent calls mount for swift intervention by security forces to rescue the abducted villagers and quell the rising threat posed by Damina and his ruthless cohorts.
The incident underscores the need for enhanced security measures to safeguard vulnerable communities in Zamfara State.
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