Four cattle sellers in Abattoir, Agege area of Lagos State, have been arrested by the police for allegedly providing funds for bandits terrorising some towns in Zamfara State.
Places that had been attacked by the bandits included Tsafe, Zurmi, Shinkafi, Maradun, Maru and Brinin-Magaji local government areas of the state.
The police claimed that the suspects – Alhaji Ago Atine, Alawani Abubakar, Mohammed Shagari and Bashiru Aliyu – funded the gunmen by allegedly buying stolen cows from them.
It was gathered that the hoodlums, who had killed many residents of the state, used the proceeds of the stolen cows to buy guns and other lethal weapons in Libya.
Police sources said on December 29, 2018, the gang ambushed a team of soldiers on patrol along Doburu Forest in the Zurmi Local Government Area of Zamafra State, using rocket-propelled grenades on them.
No fewer than 10 soldiers reportedly lost their lives in the attack while several others who sustained serious injuries were rushed to the Zurmi General Hospital for treatment.
On November 29, 2018, the bandits were also said to have attacked a police anti-rustling team in the state, killing 15 members of the team.
Our correspondent learnt that the gang’s source of funds for procuring sophisticated weapons was recently revealed when operatives of the Inspector-General of Police Intelligence Response Team arrested its commander in Zurmi.
A senior police officer said, “Twin sisters, Hassana and Hussaina Bala, were kidnapped in October 2018 in Dauran Village, Zurmi Local Government Area. A ransom of N15m was paid before the girls were released, but one of the suspects arrested in connection with the kidnapping, Nafiu Usman, alias Baba Doctor, who happens to be the sub commander of a group of bandits operating in Zurmi, confessed that his boss, one Dankarimi, the overall commander in Zurmi, had been sourcing funds to procure arms and ammunition.
“The N15m ransom was shared among sub commanders working for Dankarimi. Usman said he got N500,000 as his share. He also confessed that his group ambushed and killed a team of soldiers on patrol at Doburu Forest. He confessed that he bought the weapons in Libya and identified one Alhaji Naira as the person who provided the funds they used in buying the arms. He said members of the gang rustled cows for Alhaji Naira, who brought them to Lagos for sale.”
Our correspondent learnt that Usman led the operatives to arrest Alhaji Naira, who then mentioned the four cattle sellers at Abattoir as the receivers.
The four suspects, who are natives of Zamfara State, were reportedly arrested while selling some of the rustled cows to unsuspecting buyers.
One of the suspects, 50-year-old Atine, told City Round that he had bought over 400 cows from Alhaji Naira. He, however, said he was not aware that the cows were stolen.
He said, “I have received over 400 cows from Alhaji Naira. I sold the cows at Abattoir. I sent the money to Alhaji Naira’s bank account after sales. I bought the cows from him at low prices. He sold each cow to me for between N60,000 and N70,000 and I sold each for between N170,000 and N180,000. I don’t know what Alhaji does with the money and I didn’t know that the cows were stolen.”