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INCREDIBLE STORY OF HERDSMEN KILLINGS: ‘How we killed, burnt people’s house just to take over their cattle’



INCREDIBLE STORY OF HERDSMEN KILLINGS: ‘How we killed, burnt people’s house just to take over their cattle’

A 27-year-old man, who introduced himself as Shenu Sani, has told how he joined a gang just to embark on wanton killings of people, including women and children in order to take possession of their victims’ cattle. Shenu is one of the four men arrested by operatives of the Inspector-General of Police’s Special Intelligence Response Team (IRT) for murder, robbery and cattle rustling.

The IRT operatives were said to have listened in shock as Shenu regaled them with chilling tales of how he and other members of the gang burnt people alive in their homes just because they desperately wanted to take over their cows. He disclosed that there were different gangs carrying out similar operations, with different names. According to him, be belonged to Buharin Daji’s gang. He revealed that he is one of the many commanders of Buharin Daji. He said that the gang used to kill their victims, who are mainly inhabitants of remote villages within Zamafara State.

He said that the victims were mostly killed because they put up resistance, attempting to prevent the gang from carting away their cattle. Shenu, who said that he is from Bauchi State, added that he is a farmer and rears cows. He has two wives and four children. He added: “I joined the Buharin Daji’s gang because I needed to protect my cattle from been rustled. If you are a member of any of the group, your cattle will not be rustled. I have gone to several operations with Buharin Daji in Zamfara State. Our intentions were mainly cattle rustling, but some of the villagers used to try to put up resistance.

“They attempt to prevent us from carting away their cattle. At that point, they leave us with no option than to kill and burn their houses before taking away their cattle. Some of the villages set up vigilante groups, but this didn’t deter us. We fought and killed them before taking their cows away. Buharin Daji pays me N5000 after each killing and cattle rustling.”

Incidentally, Buharin Daji, who formed the gang and named it, was killed by another gang identified as Dogo Dide’s gang. Shenu said that Buharin Daji and some of his men were ambushed and killed while heading for a peace meeting at Zamfara State. “Our group is presently being controlled by Nagala, but I had no intention to kill anyone. I only wanted cattle,” said Shenu.It was gathered that Shenu and others were arrested after the IGP, Ibrahim Idris, became worried over the alarming increase of murder, kidnap and cattle rustling in Zamfara State. A preliminary investigation revealed that some groups of bandits, which specialised in killing and cattle rustling were behind the mayhem in the state.

The IGP instructed IRT operatives, led by a Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Abba Kyari, to investigate the incidents and bring the situation under control. It was in the course of the investigation that Shenu and his cohorts, Hamisu Sani, Yusuf Mande and Lawal Abubakar, were arrested.

The police were said to have trailed them to their hideouts in Bauchi and Zamfara states. An IRT source said that the four suspects were arrested through the aid of intelligent gathering and deployment of advance technologies. Police sources further disclosed that the suspects, who were mainly Fulani natives confessed during interrogations to be commanders of Buharin Daji’s group. Buharin Daji, who controlled a large network of bandits and cattle rustlers across major northern states, was killed in March 2018, along with some of his lieutenants by a rival cattle rustling gang, led by Dogo Gide. Buharin Daji was silenced after he led his men to steal hundreds of cattle from Dogo Gide’s father in-law in Zamfara State.

Even though Buharin Daji was dead, members of his gang had continued from where he stopped, killing and rustling their cattle. One of Buharin Daji’s arms suppliers, Lawal Abubakar, was arrested in Zamfara State. He confessed to have supplied over 10 AK-47 assault rifles to a group. His confessions aided IRT operatives in catching three other commanders of the Buharin Daji’s gang. Another commander, Yusuf Mande,30, who is married with seven children, said he joined the gang because some vigilante men from a neighbouring village attacked his, burning down his house in the process.

They also carted away over 120 of his cows. Since that incident, vengeance was a living flame, burning in Mande’s heart.He confessed: “We’re responsible for most of the killings within Zamfara State. I joined Buhari Daji’s group in 2014 because some people from Ruwanmesa village came to my village and set fire on more 30 houses, including mine. They took away over 120 of my cows. Ruwanmesa people are not Fulanis, and they accused our people of rustling their cattle.

They brought their vigilante to attack and burn down houses. Before then, I had never stolen anyone’s property. I got angry and joined the Buharin Daji group because he had a lot of men and uncountable number of guns. “I needed to retaliate; after I joined the group, I told Buharin Daji what happened in my village. He brought his men and we attacked Ruwanmesa village. We killed everyone, including women and children. We took away over 50 cows; I was given only one. I also joined in the attack of Mashema in Maru Local Government Area. We killed every one in the village; this was in May 2017. We attacked the Mashema because their people attacked a Fulani village and killed its inhabitants in Zanfara State. After we attacked Mashema, we took away 40 cows and seven camels. I was given one cow after the operation. I left Zamfara to Bauchi State because the Zamfara State Government offered amnesty to cattle rustlers and people carrying out killings within the state.

“Our leader, Buharin Daji warned us not to accept the amnesty. He vowed to kill anyone who accepted it. That was the reason I relocated with my two wives and family. Buharin Daji, before he died, got angry and seized all the cows I had when he learned I had accepted government amnesty. He threatened to kill me.

I was in Bauchi State when Buharin Daji was killed by Dogo-Dide.” Telling his own side of the story, the alleged arm supplier, Abubakar, explained that he made only N20, 000 from the supply of 10 pieces of AK-47. Abubakar, who is married to three women, has 23 children. Like most of the gang members, he rears cattle.

He recounted: “Buharin Daji approached me; he said that he needed AK-47 rifles. He gave me N1.8million. I got the arms from Alhaji Suleiman at Bariki-Ladi Plateau State. We hid the arms inside a Volkswagen Vectra and took them to Buhari Daji in Zamfara State. Five days later, Buhari Daji sent me another N1.8million to buy another five set of Ak-47 rifle, I made N20, 000 for that deal.”

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