In a harrowing incident, bandits dressed in Hijab, also known as Abaya, kidnapped 26 individuals, primarily women and children, from the Runka community in the Safana Local Government Area of Katsina State. This community lies a few kilometers away from the notorious Rugu Forest, a long-time hideout for criminals.

According to a local source, the attack occurred on Saturday night at around 10:00 p.m. The source, speaking to reporters via telephone on Monday, described a scene of chaos and terror as the assailants stormed the area, firing shots indiscriminately. The attackers reportedly capitalized on the activities of informants within the community, who provided them with critical information.

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“The bandits killed nobody in the community except one person who was shot and injured after he attempted to run. As I am speaking to you, he has been hospitalized,” the source recounted. “They abducted at least 25 people because even among my relatives, twelve persons were kidnapped.”

The attack lasted for hours, with no security personnel in sight until after the bandits had left. The source explained that an armored personnel carrier, accompanied by some police officers, was eventually deployed to patrol the area, but by then, the damage had been done.

“The bandits stationed themselves everywhere in the community. They moved from house to house, breaking and burgling the entrances and taking the occupants to the forest,” he continued. “During the attack, one of the bandits was overheard having a telephone conversation with an unknown informant, telling him, ‘Today, we’ve come to your hometown’.”

The aftermath of the attack left the community in a state of shock and despair. Local authorities, including the chairman of Safana Local Government Area, Abdullahi, confirmed that 22 people had been abducted, though some have since managed to escape.

“The DPO Safana has deployed and stationed his team alongside soldiers to the area, and they have already commenced a rescue operation,” Abdullahi stated.

Despite the severity of the attack, the police authorities in Katsina State have yet to issue an official comment. The spokesman for the command, Abubakar Sadiq, did not respond to inquiries from reporters.

This latest incident underscores the persistent insecurity plaguing the region, with communities like Runka living in constant fear of bandit attacks. The proximity to Rugu Forest, a known haven for criminals, exacerbates the situation, making it difficult for residents to feel safe in their own homes.

The lack of immediate security response during the attack has raised concerns among residents about the effectiveness of local law enforcement and the need for more proactive measures to protect vulnerable communities. As the rescue operation continues, the people of Runka are left grappling with the trauma of the attack and the uncertainty of their abducted loved ones’ fate.

This incident is a stark reminder of the ongoing security challenges in Nigeria, particularly in the northern regions, where banditry and kidnapping have become all too common. The government and security agencies face increasing pressure to address these issues and restore peace and stability to affected communities.