Against the backdrop of alleged activities of new armed group in Tangaza and Gudu local government areas of Sokoto State, the police have confirmed they are herders, not known to be violent but strongly suspected to be armed.
Also, local authorities and residents have spoken on the prevailing situation in their areas.
Briefing journalists on the situation, Commissioner for Police, Murtala Mani said the initial apprehension had been diffused as the inhabitants of the areas were going about their lawful routines without any molestation.
According to him, the police received news of the presence of herdsmen suspected to be Malians and armed known as “Lakurawa” sighted around Marake Forest in Gudu Local Government Area and Wassaniya, Tunigara, Moliava, Jina-Jincti villages in Tangaza Local Government Area of Sokoto State.
The commissioner added that from intelligence, the herdsmen were annual visitors to the nearby forests bordering the two local government area with their cattle, but that the number of the cattle increased exponentially this year, to about 3000 from the usual figures of about 500 to 700.
He explained that the herdsmen usually stay in the forest in Niger Republic whenever they embark on such annual migration but occasionally enter the villages of Gudu and Tangaza local governments to procure food and other essentials and retire back to the forest in Niger Republic.
The apprehension of the villagers, Mani said, stemmed largely from the activities of armed bandits in Zamfara, and that they needed to be proactive.
The Sole Administrator of Tangaza Local Government Area, Alhaji Muhammadu Yari Tangaza, disclosed that all that the media was dishing out to people are nothing but tissue of lies.
A resident in Tangaza confirmed to Daily Trust on Sunday that some members of the group were initially invited to rescue a kidnap victim who was originally from Niger Republic.
He added: “The locals were initially happy with their coming because of the way they sacked bandits in their communities but their refusal to consult their leaders and hand over recovered cattle as well as the way they were forcing people to give out animals as Zakkat which they used to take to their countries made us suspicious and decided to report the matter to constituted authorities.”
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