A statement from the President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, said the hoodlums ambushed and opened fire on the approaching convoy at Kun Kana, a village in Safana Local Government Area, but were repelled by the military and DSS men escorting the convoy.
The statement said the President was not in the convoy and that two people were injured during the attack
A resident of Kun Kana community, Jamilu Aliyu Charanci, who witnessed the incident, told our correspondent that he and a few other people were going to Dutsin-ma from nearby Kankara village when they saw the bandits crossing the road on motorcycles in droves and causing everyone to scamper into safety.
Charanci said that while some of them ran to nearby Turare village, others hid in the bush. Shortly after, he said, the advanced convoy of the President passed and ran into the bandits, who immediately opened fire.
Charanci said: “We were all terrified as we had the sound of gunshots. I was practically freezing where I hid myself because we feared that a lot of lives must have been lost.
“It turned out, however, that no life was lost in that particular incident. I was also able to make my journey to Dutsin-ma because a military convoy cleared the way.”
But it was not all uhuru as on the same day, Aminu Umar, an Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) and Area Commander of the Nigeria Police Force, was killed together with one other police officer by bandits in Zakka Forest, also close to Dutsin-ma.
Spokesperson of the Katsina State Police Command, Gambo Isah, who confirmed the killing in a statement issued late Tuesday night, said the terrorists numbering about 300 ambushed ACP Umar and his team.
He said: “At about 11.30hrs, a distress call was received that terrorists numbering over 300, on motorcycles, shooting sporadically with AK 47 rifles and General Purpose Machine Guns (GPMG), ambushed ACP Aminu Umar, Area Commander, Dutsin-ma, and his team, while on clearance operation of recalcitrant bandits/terrorists, in Zakka forest, Safana LGA of Katsina State.
“Consequently, the Area Commander and one other gallantly lost their lives during an exchange of gunfire.”
He added that the Commissioner of Police, CP Idrisu Dabban Dauda, on behalf of the officers and men of the Command, expressed deep sympathy for the families of the deceased and prayed God for the repose of their souls.
He reaffirmed the Command’s commitment to the ongoing onslaught against terrorism in the state until it is completely routed out.
Residents endorse cancellation of Durba
Katsina residents have endorsed the cancellation of the annual Sallah festival, Durba, over rising security challenges in the state which peaked with Tuesday’s attack on Buhari’s convoy.
Announcing the suspension of the Durba festival in a statement issued by its Assistant Secretary, Alhaji Sule Mamman-Dee, the Katsina Emirate’s Council’s said the decision was taken in view of the current security situation in the state.
According to Mamman-Dee, the Emir, Alhaji Abdulmumini Kabir-Usman, expressed deep concern over the security situation in parts of the emirate, saying that he would only attend the Eid prayers on Saturday.
He explained that the Emir advised Muslims to continue to pray for the return of peace to the state and country in general.
The spokesperson of Daura Emirate Council in the state, Alhaji Usman Ibrahim, told newsmen in Daura that the council had also suspended the durbar across the emirate.
According to Ibrahim, the Emir, Alhaji Faruk Umar-Faruk, directed all the district heads under the emirate to perform their Eid-El Kabir prayers in their domains.
Ibrahim said that the Emir had also called on prospective pilgrims to pray for the peace and well-being of the state and the country.
The Nation investigation revealed that the durbar festival dates back to hundreds of years and involves the display of horse riding skills by districts and nobility households, who pay homage to the Emir on Eid day, known in Katsina as `Hawan Daushe’.
During the Durba, the emir usually leads a contingent of members of the Emirate Council, district and village heads in a procession of horses known as `Hawan Bariki’ to pay homage to the state governor a day after the Eid.
Mamman Dee told The Nation that the Durbar festival is an annual religious and equestrian celebration in several cities of Nigeria including Kano, Katsina, Sokoto, Zazzau and Bida. The festival, he said, marks the end of Ramadan and also coincides with the Muslim festivities of Eid al-Adha and Eid al-Fitri.
He said: “It begins with prayers, followed by a colourful parade of the Emir and his entourage on horses, accompanied by musicians, and ending at the Emir’s palace.
”Durbar festivals are organised in almost all cities of northern Nigeria and has become a major tourist attraction.
Concerns over possible loss of revenue
The suspension of the Durba celebration in Katsina State due to insecurity though welcomed by many indigenes of the state because of what they have been passing through, there is a sizeable concern also about the possible loss of revenue and several other economic benefits derivable from foreign visitors who throng the palace every year to grace the occasion
Spokesperson of Daura Emirate Council in the state, Alhaji Usman Ibrahim, while admitting the loss of revenue from tourism and sale of artifacts, insisted that security concerns supercede every other worry because, according to him, it is only in a stable and safe environment that Durba can thrive.
He said: “Peace and harmony is greater than any other thing. Our state has been engrossed in security challenges and banditry attacks.
“Just imagine the recent attacks on Buhari’s convoy and the killing of the Police Area commander. Who is it that would not feel the pains?”
Over 15,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs), who were victims of banditry attacks, are camped in Jibia Local Government Area of Katsina State and have been appealing to the state government to come to their aid by deploying adequate security personnel to their respective communities so they could return to their ancestral homes to resume farming activities.
These displaced persons who are mostly farmers from over seven villages of Kwari, Zango, Shimfida, Tsauni, Far Faru, Tsambe and Gurbin Magariya, had their communities invaded by gunmen otherwise known as bandits.
Scores of them, mostly children, took refuge in Government Girls Secondary School, Jibia Local Government, with over 22 persons reportedly dying from hypertension, starvation and non-availability of medical services in the camps.
The Chairman of the Camp, Sa’ad Salisu, expressed worries over the absence of security personnel around the camps, stating that they have been taking refuge at the primary school since early this year following a surge of attacks on their communities by gunmen suspected to be herdsmen.
He added that over 3,000 children who are currently in the camp could not have access to learning facilities following the inability of the state government to provide a makeshift school in the camp.
Kunkuna residents task government on security
Welcoming the suspension of the Durba, residents of Kunkuna community in Safana Local Government Area said their security is more important than the festival.
They, however, called on the Federal Government to take the war against terrorism to the terrorists’ enclaves located on the fringes of the forests around the communities The residents, who spoke to The Nation correspondent during his visit to the area, also condemned the recent attack by gunmen on the advance convoy of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The residents said the attack launched by the terrorists were designed to test the capacity of the Nigerian security architecture, adding that the Federal Government had failed to tackle them squarely hence the escalation of the attacks
amilu Aliyu Charanchi and Ambassador Umar Ahmad Jibril, both residents of the area, described the attack on the President’s advance convoy as the latest in the series of criminal activities by the outlaws who have continued to terrorise communities in the Northwest and parts of the Northentral region of the country.
Civil society organisations in Katsina react to attacks
The twin attacks in the state on the same day has sparked reactions from different quarters, especially with the blames pouring in on lapses by the state and federal governments as well as lack of synergy amongst the various security agencies that are operating in the state
The Coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Katsina State on Wednesday called on the Federal Government to justify the money spent on security by ensuring safety of lives and property in Nigeria.
The Coalition made the demand while reacting to Tuesday’s death of ACP Umar in a gun duel with terrorists and the attack on Buhari’s advanced convoy.
The coalition in a statement by its state chairman, Abdulrahman Abdullahi, lamented the death of the Police Area Commander, insisting that the incident spoke volume of the inadequacies in the nation’s security system.
The statement reads: “It is disturbing that government’s inability to provide our security men with working tools and chase bandits to their enclaves is continually resulting in loss of gallant officers like ACP Aminu Umar and other innocent Nigerians.
“The bandits are becoming stronger and bolder by the day. The fight should be taken to their enclaves, using land and air forces. But unfortunately, the Air Force and army are not striking with the needed force.
“You would see fighter jets flying the sky, but when you ask for casualties, you can’t see any. Bandits are attacking innocent people few miles away from military bases but no intervention.
“Money is spent on a daily basis for security but the situation is worsening every day. It is high time the President and the National Assembly began to query why there are no commensurate results to security investment. These senseless killings must stop.
“The attack on President Muhammadu Buhari’s advance team by audacious bandits in Katsina State confirms our rotten security architecture and testifies that no one else is safe in this country.
“Although the temerity of the attacks seems to be astonishing, we all saw it coming.”
The coalition further called on government to review the present security architecture with a view to containing the incessant terrorist attacks and killing of innocent Nigerians.
They further insisted that the huge amount of money spent by government on the security sector has also made no positive impact.
The coalition opined that the bandits are no longer confronting only hapless villagers and farmers, having crippled their dwindling economy and taxed the rural communities, the people are getting kidnapped silently without gunshots.
Another civil society activist, Dr Bashir Ruwagodia, told The Nation that the Federal Government is never serious about dealing with the security challenges facing Katsina State
He said: “The President is from Katsina State, yet no concerted effort is being made to tackle the state’s security challenges. Wit jus less than a year to leave office and as a retired army general, it is his last chance to salvage the state from the present security mess.
“The President should call the service chiefs to order or even rejig the security architecture in the state and country. We in Katsina State are increasingly becoming hopeless about improved security situation as provided by governments.”
The activist also flayed the lack of synergy among the various security agencies in the state and called for simultaneous security operations against bandits in the Northwest using a combined operation by the various agencies
Special Adviser to Governor Aminu Bello Masari, Ibrahim Ahmad Katsina, at a two-day security awareness workshop for local government administrators held at Local Government Commission Headquarters Katsina, said the state government is committed to securing the lives and property of the people and their standard of living.
He said: “In this fight against insecurity, no retreat, no surrender”
Katsina further described the security awareness workshop for local government administrators as part of the Katsina State Government’s efforts to contain the myriad of security challenges facing not only Katsina but in the nation generally.
He maintained that the security challenges arising from banditry, terrorism and other associated organised crimes are not peculiar to Katsina State but has become a national phenomenon requiring multi-dimensional approach to contain them.
“Capacity building is a knowledge-driven approach towards problem solving, especially when problems and challenges seem complicated and overwhelming,” he said.