Gunmen suspected to be bandits have appointed their members to head some villages in the Sabon Birni Local Government Area of Sokoto State.

According to a Sokoto-based online newspaper, Daily Star, the new terrorist village heads were acting on the orders of a ruthless bandit kingpin, Bello Turji.

According to the report, the bandits first summoned Gangara villagers to a crucial meeting in Saturu village on Thursday to announce the deposition of the existing heads of the villages and posting of some of their members as the new traditional heads.

In attendance at the meeting were five Turji commanders namely Dan Bakkwalo, Boka Tamiske, Hassan Dan Kwaro, Dogo and Jammu Baki. The bandits then asked Gangara villagers to select one of the five commanders to serve as their village head.

The villagers selected Dan Bakkwalo, after which they were given some conditions by their new ruler.

Reading the villagers the riot act, Bakkwalo said no police officer, military personnel or vigilantes would be allowed henceforth in the village. 

He told his subjects that all disputes must be brought to him for adjudication. See Also Insecurity Telecoms’ Shutdown: Sokoto Bandits Write Letters To Demand Ransoms From Families Of Victims

The new ruler also ordered the villagers to contribute and pay the sum of N1.5 million tribute to him.

Bakkwalo ordered the immediate reopening of three Juma’at mosques and the resumption of weekly (Tuesday) market activities in Gangara village, against the order of Sokoto State Government of closure of all weekly markets. 

Governor Aminu Tambuwal had recently announced the suspension of telecommunications networks and banned weekly markets and sale of petrol in jerry cans, among other drastic measures to check the activities of bandits in the state. See Also Breaking News BREAKING: Sokoto State Shuts Down Telecommunication Networks After Zamfara, Katsina

At Makwaruwa village, bandit commander, Boka Tamiske declared himself the new district head and summoned a meeting where he asked the ‘ousted’ district head, one Dan Sani, to tell the villagers by himself, who was now in charge.

Sani told the people there that Boka was now the new head of the village.

“The villagers had no option but to obey these bandits,” one of the villagers told the newspaper.

“They are now in charge and every case or dispute must be reported to them.”

Meanwhile, 85 villages in Burkusuma, in Gatawa ward, have been taxed N300,000 each for not cultivating enough food that the bandits could use.

The villagers were given an ultimatum to contribute the money or face the wrath of the gunmen.

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