As the Nigerian military intensifies its offensive on bandits’ camps in Zamfara State, the armed men have been fleeing into neighbouring states for safety.

Residents of Dange Shuni Local Government Area of Sokoto State, which borders Zamfara, told VOA that they have seen a large number of gunmen fleeing Zamfara.

Eyewitnesses said most of the gunmen were looking frightened; while fleeing they also burgled into villagers’ houses and shops looting food items.

It was also reported that some of the bandits resorted to robbing vehicles seizing fuel to refill their motorbikes.

However, reports also say that the fleeing gunmen have abducted about 20 people in Bissalam, Illelar Bissalam and Fajaldu communities all on the Sokoto-Gusau highway in Dange Shuni Local Government Area of the state, though some of the abducted persons were said to have later escaped.

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Sokoto State Commissioner for Security, Colonel Garba Moyi Isa (rtd), confirmed the development in an interview with VOA, but said the state government had taken steps to prevent the movement of the bandits into the state.

“The 10 local government areas of Sokoto State, that share borders with Katsina, Zamfara and Kebbi states, as well as the Niger Republic, have all been cut off,” he said.

Regarding the military’s crackdown on the armed gang in Zamfara, the commissioner, a retired military officer and security expert, said the move was effective, but there were mistakes in taking action.

He said: “Combined action should be taken in all the states of Zamfara, Katsina, Kebbi, Kaduna and Niger so that the terrorists can be crushed simultaneously, not allowing them to escape to the other states.”

It was reported that the Nigerian military had launched air and ground offensives on the bandits’ camps in Zamfara State, in addition to state government regulations closing down markets, bus stations and banning the sale of petrol.

Daily Trust