The police in Katsina State says it has arrested three women for allegedly selling fuel to bandits in a forest in the state.

The police spokesperson in Katsina, Gambo Isah paraded the three suspects, Dija Umar, 50; Ummah Bello, 45; and Nusaiba Muhammad, 16, at the state police headquarters on Thursday.

File photo used to illustrate story.

The police said the suspects were arrested along Katsina-Jibia Road.

The suspects, who confessed to have committed the offence in contravention of the executive order and other extant laws of the federation, are said to be residents of Malali Quarters, in Katsina metropolis.

Isah said, “These women that you are seeing here were arrested along Jibia-Katsina Road with these bags pretending to be normal travellers going to Magama in Jibia, a border town with Niger Republic. What they do is engage in smuggling of petrol to bandits in Jibia forest but nemesis caught up with them and they were arrested with these exhibits.

“These exhibits you are seeing are not just travelling bags but they are loaded with petrol meant to be taken to the forest for the bandits. The suspects are Umma Bello (45) of Malali Quarters here in Katsina metropolis; Nusaiba Muhammad (16) and Dija Umar (50), all of the same address.

“It may interest you to know that the suspects, while confessing to have committed the offence, also revealed that many of them in the area are involved in the business. What they do is to engage the services of ‘okada’, motorcycle riders to buy the fuel for them in their motorcycle tanks from filling stations and then take it back to Malali Quarters for them, where they siphon the fuel from the motorcycle tanks and then arrange them into bags like these to avoid the eagle eyes of the security agencies while taking it to the forest to sell to bandits.”

Katsina, despite being the home state of President Muhammadu Buhari, has witnessed sporadic attacks by bandits and kidnappers that have claimed the lives of many.

Over 1,000 people have been reportedly killed by gunmen in Jibia, Kankara, Dutsinma, Musawa, Danmusa and Safana local government areas of the state in the last nine months.

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