by Shehu Umar, Gusau
Will the dead of the dreaded Buharin Daji stop cattle rustling and armed banditry in Zamfara and neighbouring states?
Last week, Buhari Tsoho, otherwise known Buharin Daji, was said to be the mastermind of many horrific assaults in Zamfara and adjoining states was killed in Madada forest in Dansadau District.
He was a fearless and brutal character and had large number of collaborators and cattle rustlers loyal to him. The government had in 2016 engaged him in a peace talk.
He agreed to cease hostilities but later reneged. He was believed to be the brain behind the renewed attacks in the state. He was reportedly shot dead by one of his lieutenants called Dogo Gide after a bickering within their camp. A fight ensued and eight of his men were also killed.
Some residents who spoke with our reporter expressed hope that the death of Buharin Daji will be the beginning of the end of the brutal killings in the state. A resident, Alhaji Sani Usman, said: “We have suffered enough as a people. He was a brutal character and did not care about the plight of our communities.
He attacked so many villages and rustled thousands of cows. I lost about 200 cows to his gang in the last four years.” Another resident in Dansadau, Aliyu Isah said the hope of many people for the end of the carnage in the state had been renewed and rekindled. He said: “…his boys were mostly responsible for the mass kidnappings here.
Dozens of residents were kidnapped and millions of naira collected as ransom by his gang.
We hope the security operatives will mop-up his remaining boys hibernating inside our forests.” A another resident, Nuhu Dansadau told Daily Trust on Sunday many repentant armed bandits and cattle rustlers helped security agencies in the search for the corpse of Buharin Daji in the forest.
According to him, from the body language of the repentant bandits, they were excited about the demise of the kingpin.
His body was brought to the Government House, Gusau where many people trooped to catch a glimpse. Last week, an audio clip went viral on social media in which two purported voices of Buharin Daji and another person were being heard making a telephone conversation.
In the clip a voice believed to be Buharin Daji’s was heard vowing to continue the deadly raids on the rural communities in the state until his boy called Dogon Bangaje, his wife and some of his kids arrested by the security operatives were released.
In the conversation Buharin Daji vowed to make Zamfara a real killing field similar with that of Boko Haram in Borno State. He said he had wanted peace to reign but was betrayed by the authorities therefore the communities should expect more killings in the months ahead. It was gathered that Buharin Daji carried out most of the attacks with the assistance of two of his close associates known as Kankara and Damina.
Zamfara State Governor Abdulaziz Yari had earlier said Buharin Daji decided to return to old ways after a disagreement with his lieutenants on whether to accept the peace deal or not.
According to Yari, after a peace deal was struck with the bandits, an amnesty was granted and they were asked to surrender their weapons but some refused especially those from the camp of Buharin Daji breaching the terms of the agreement.
However, a highly placed source in the government told our reporter that the peace pact was jeopardized after a very close associate of Buharin Daji, Dogon Bangaje was arrested and detained by the DSS. The man Buharin Daji The name Buharin Daji was coined by the residents of the state. It means “Buhari of the forest.” His name is Buhari Tsoho and of Fulani extraction.
He was born and brought up at Dandundun village in Maru Local government area of Zamfara State, a source familiar with his family revealed to Daily Trust on Sunday. Before taking up arms and joined armed banditry, Buhari was as innocent as a lamb, a resident Isah Mutunji said. “We used to see him in our village especially when he came in to buy some things in the market.
His relationship with other residents was cordial then. Later, for reasons best known to him, he took up guns and engaged in cattle rustling and armed banditry. After he joined the deadly gangs, he rapidly alienated himself to the public. He commanded the most deadly armed bandit’s camp in Zamfara Forest, especially in Maru-Anka and Bungudu-Tsafe axis.
According to those privy to his operation, Buharin Daji had many assault rifles which he sometimes hire out to members of other gangs. However, two years ago, news filtered that Buharin Daji was killed in a shoot-out between his gang and security operatives.
The news of his purported death sparked jubilations across the state. Initially he was believed to have been killed after an audio file of gunfire between his men and security operatives was found.
The audio was believed to have been recorded by one of his boys using phone during an encounter with security agents. The audio went viral on social media and was widely circulated in the state. In the recording, a voice was heard yelling, instructing the attackers belonging to the gang to summon courage and rescue Buhari.
“They have killed Buhari! We should stop running away. Some of you should stay and rescue Buhari. He is being mowed down by the bullets fired from the security operatives!! Wayyo Allah! Our Buhari is gone,” The voice in the audio shouted. Zamfara after Buharin Daji Attacks in many communities in Zamfara and adjoining states led to the establishment of “Operation Sharan Daji” by the military.
The military and other security agencies operated in the forests and raided the camps of the armed bandits that were terrorizing hapless rural communities. Last year, the military recovered rustled cattle and animals including over 269 cows and 241 sheep especially around Kahiru forest in the Bakura Local Government Area of the state.
According to data gathered by Daily Trust on Sunday, among major attacks carried out since 2011 included 23 killed in October 2011, at Lingyado in Maru local government area, 15 burnt in Birnin Magaji in January 2012, 27 shot in Dangulbi in Maru in June 2012, 20 in Gusau local government in September 2012, 18 in Kabaro also in Maru in October 2012, 54 in Kizara in Tsafe in June 2013 and 126 in Yar’galadima in Maru in April 2014.
Others are 16 were killed in Maradun in November 2015, 20 in Mashema in December, 2015, 23 in Kwanar Dutse in February 2016, 56 in Tubali in November 2016, 6 in Anka in October 2017 and 5 also in Tsafe also in October 2017.
Not long ago, the Force Public Relations Officer, Chief Superintendent Jimoh Moshood, said the operatives arrested three persons in connection with an attack on Birane in Zurmi Local Government Area of Zamfara State where 40 people were killed. Those apprehended are Halilu Garba 45, Zubairu Marafa, 45 and Nafi’u Badamasi, 40.
But now that Buharin Daji has been killed, will the banditry and killings stop and peace return? Or will another “leader” take over to continue to unleash terror on the already traumatised communities? Only time will tell.
Source: DAILY TRUST