Katsina State Banditry
Operation Egwe Eke
Katsina State in northern Nigeria shares borders with the states of Jigawa, Kano, Kaduna and Zamfara, and with the Republic of Niger to the north. It has a population of 6 million. The daredevilry, cruelty and wickedness exhibited by the Katsina State bandits resembled those of Boko Haram. It is a single continuum of banditry that bedevils Zamfara, Kaduna and most recently Katsina States. A Katsina State law establishes a board with the authority to regulate Islamic schools, preachers, and mosques, including issuing permits, suspending operations, and imprisoning or fining violators. The Katsina law stipulates a punishment of one to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to 500,000 naira ($1,400) for operating without a license.
Katsina has a history of hostility to minorities of religious, ethnic and political distinction. Katsina state was the state which had the most massive destruction of churches in the most LGs of any state during the 2011 post-election violence. In Funtua town, every single church was destroyed. The state had not compensated for or repaired the destroyed churches. Rather Katsina State released 360 million naira for the building of mosques in each local government council even though no mosque was attacked during the Post-Election Violence. Approximately 100 churches were attacked in Katsina in April 2011.
The Nigerian Army launched “Operation Egwe Eke” also known as “Python Dance III” to rid Katsina state and neighboring Niger Republic of armed banditry, cattle rustling, kidnapping and other criminal activities within the region. The state will give all the necessary support and logistics to ensure that the operation is a success following a memorandum of understanding signed between Katsina and Niger Republic in September 2018.
The flag-off exercise of the operation at Makada village in Batagarawa local government area of Katsina state, follows the review of “Operation Sharan Daji” jointly handled by both Niger Republic and Katsina state security operatives under the leadership of the 17 brigade. At the meeting, leader of the Nigerian delegation Lieutenant Colonel Saminou Mani assured of the commitment of his government and military to sustaining the gains of the operations.
The Chief of Army Staff General Tukur Buratai, represented by the general officer commanding 8-division Major General Steven Olabanji, assured the commitment of the Nigerian Army to rid the country of all forms of criminal activities. Governor Aminu Masari, represented by the secretary to the government of the state and chairman Security Council Committee, Dr. Mustapha Inuwa, assured of the state governments readiness to support the exercise 100%. High point of the event was the joint security operatives exercise officially flagged off by Masari.
The Nigerian army said "Egwu Eke (python dance III) is aimed at creating an enabling environment for safe conduct of the 2019 elections. Military authorities confirmed also that to underscore the seriousness of the operation, the Chief Of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Yusuf Buratai had personally toured the units and formations to evaluate the performance of the exercise.
Governor Aminu Masari of Katsina State urged communities in the state to expose criminals dislodged by the ongoing military operations in neighboring Zamfara State. Masari made the call on 18 August 2018 when the Emir of Katsina, Abdulmumini Kabir, paid him the traditional Sallah Homage.
Speaking at an extraordinary security meeting in Katsina in January 2019, Governor Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina State cried out that the state is under siege by bandits, armed robbers and kidnappers. He lamented the deteriorating security situation in the state and called on all that matter to rise to the occasion. The situation was further dramatized recently by the failed attempt to kidnap Galadiman Katsina and District Head of Malumfashi, Justice Mamman Nasir.
Masari said, “The citizens are on a daily basis being harassed by bandits and kidnappers that are on rampage in the state. Katsina Government organised this one-day joint security and stakeholders meeting to proffer solutions to the state’s current insecurity challenge. Our state is currently under serious siege by armed robbers, kidnappers and armed bandits who arrest rural people at will and demand ransom, which if not paid, results in the killing their victims.”
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