The district head of Gamfurum Community in Bali Local Council of Taraba State, Muhammed Gamfuru, has lamented complete takeover of 15 communities in the council by bandits.
Gamfuru, who narrowly escaped from one of the communities with his wives and children, said the bandits are in the communities roaming around freely.
The monarch lamented that the situation is making Governor Agbu Kefas’ dream of bringing his military background to bear in addressing the security challenges in the state a mirage.
According to him, hundreds of people from the communities are in custody of the kidnappers, while those lucky to have escaped from the areas, have taken refuge in Garba-Chede, the administrative headquarters of the chiefdom.
The monarch said bandits attempted to abduct him and members of his family severally, but escaped, and was compelled to relocate from the area with his family.
He said: “We have no option than to run away from our towns and villages to safe areas, because the bandits are in large numbers and armed with AK47 guns.
“The bandits treat abductees as slaves; they chain and force them to carry loads. whenever they are moving to another base or location.” The traditional ruler called on relevant authorities to, as a matter of urgency, put mechanisms in place to address the situation, as the bandits had in the last one week, abducted many, including women and children in his domain,
He added that six victims from the communities regained freedom after paying N7 million ransom. Other persons from the communities, who spoke to The Guardian, pleaded with the state governor, Dr Agbu Kefas, to use his military background to reach out to the bandits.
Confirming the development, spokesperson for Taraba State Police Command, Abdullahi Usman, said the command has come up with a joint patrol to arrest the situation.
He said the joint patrol comprises the military, police, hunters, and the vigilantes,
With the collaboration, Usman said the team would soon flush out the bandits who have been making life unbearable for the people.
He said: “Last Friday, the Commissioner of Police drafted more men to join that operation. He briefed them at the headquarters before drafting them, and more men will also be sent to beef up operation.”