From Agaju Madugba, Katsina

Bandits operating in parts of Katsina State have reportedly resorted to the use of Radio Frequency Walkie-Talkie Trans-Receivers as alternative to the current blockage of GSM telecommunication network in the affected areas.

The government describes the development as “most worrisome.”

Communities in about 17 out of the 34 Local Government Areas in the state currently endure murderous activities of bandits and cattle rustlers who operate from the Rugu forest.

Government recently enforced contents of a Containment Order which include restrictive measures on the use of GSM facilities, sale of fuel and closure of certain roads and highways in parts of the state, among other measures.

Reviewing the progress of the Containment Order at a press conference on Thursday, Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Muhammed Mustapha Inuwa, regretted that the bandits have devised fresh strategies, aimed at circumventing efforts of government to contain banditry and related acts of criminality.

According to the SSG, “the strategies range from attacking motorists and motorcyclists to siphon PMS from their fuel tanks, to ransacking communities and coercing villagers into sourcing PMS on their behalf.

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“A recent and most worrisome move by the criminals is the observed acquisition of Radio Frequency Walkie-Talkie Trans-Receivers which they have started using.

“Security agencies are however on their trail with a view to bringing the malpractice to an end.”

He noted however that there had been “drastic reduction“ in cases of banditry incidents and cattle rustling since the commencement of implementation of the Containment Order.

As he put it, “for instance, for the period of July/August 2021, there were a total of 173 reported kidnap incidents affecting 475 persons whereas for September/October 2021, 61 kidnap incidents occurred with 201 victims.

“Banditry cases for the same period were 97 incidents for July/August 2021 with 130 deaths and 57 persons injured.

“in efforts tho bring the criminals to justice, 480 suspects were arrested between March and September 2021, 42 are under investigation and 216 under prosecution.

“From September tho date, 244 suspects have been arrested, 33 under investigation and 80 under prosecution.”