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Kidnappers Break into Kaduna Suburb, Get Chased Out by Citizen Guards

Chief of Karuga Urges Governor to Support More Citizen Guards

By Mike Odeh James

Tribal Chief of Karuga Karji, Ishaku Adamu, relaxing in his home after a foiled attack on his town March 13, 2024. Photo by Mike Odeh James.
Tribal Chief of Karuga Karji, Ishaku Adamu, relaxing in his home after a foiled attack on his town March 13, 2024. Photo by Mike Odeh James.

KadunaThey came prepared to take sleeping citizens as booty but scurried away after shotgun blasts from citizens who refused to sleep.

The bustling nation of Nigeria is awash with kidnapping for ransom, but residents of a working-class suburb of Kaduna City called Karuga were not going to be victims. Already five times since 2019  killers and kidnappers  have broken into their homes after midnight, according to Tribal Chief of Karuga Karji, Ishaku Adamu, speaking exclusively to TruthNigeria.

“The terrorists have attacked our community five times in the last two years,  and they succeeded in kidnapping several people, held hostages till they were ransomed,” Adamu said.

“However, yesterday (March 13) was different, the local vigilante group [also called “citizen guards] and the Kaduna State Vigilante Services (Kadvis) resisted the Fulanis terrorists for over one hour, and the terrorists fled,” the chief added. 

Strict gun control laws in Nigeria have prevented vulnerable citizens from purchasing weapons for self-defense, but the authorities have never enforced the law against cattle herders, who frequently are linked to terrorist attacks. The kidnappers on the night of March 13 carried AK 49 rifles, according to witnesses.  

Registered members of Kadvis are allowed to be armed, and they saved lives on the night of March 13. But dozens of other  local citizens seem to have “found” pipe guns hidden in their homes and rushed out into the dark night to defend their housing compounds. 

Uniformed Vigilantes serving communities in Adamawa and other states posted for illustration of Guard uniforms — not Kadvis Citizen Guards which are a unit serving the state of Kaduna only. photographed in November 2019. Credit Tom Garba.
Uniformed Vigilantes serving communities in Adamawa and other states posted for illustration of Guard uniforms — not Kadvis Citizen Guards which are a unit serving the state of Kaduna only. photographed in November 2019. Credit Tom Garba.

Terrorists Targeted a Suburb of Kaduna City

Karuga-Karji is a suburb of  70,000 people 2 miles east of the Kaduna River, where small-plot farmers live alongside residential compounds and retail businesses. The surrounding local governance area (often called a county) is Chikun,  home to radicalized terrorist kidnappers linked to the bandit kingpin known as Dogo Gide.  

The authorities refer to the gangs as “terrorists,” because their goal appears to be the destabilization of the federal government.  Gide the kingpin reportedly has endorsed the ISIS-linked insurgency called Boko Haram (Western learning is forbidden.) All the bandit terrorist leaders are members of the Fulani ethnicity, according to bandit expert Murtala El-Rufa’i, author of the book, I Am A Bandit.  El-Rufa’i has said that bandits and Boko Haram are two different types of criminalities, with no common ideology.

Soldiers came to join the citizen guards in a fire fight between 11 pm and midnight, according to local witnesses. 

Dele Oladele, 37, a civil servant, told TruthNigeria how the terrorists stormed his neighborhood.

“It was around 9 p.m. Wednesday night, and my wife,  a nurse, had gone to the clinic to work overnight.

As I  strolled out of my house, I saw about 8 young men armed with AK 49 rifles. They were trying to smash a hole in the wall ( fence ) surrounding my house.

“I quickly hide behind a bush, a had a closer look and  saw that my neighbor had been apprehended. He and his wife were tied together and dumped on the ground, “Oladele said.

“I sneaked away from the bush and headed directly to the outpost of KADVIS.  I met only one guard, a friend I know as Simon,  at the office and alerted him. The guard grabbed his pipe gun and followed me to my house but not without radioing for help. 

By the time Oladele and Simon got back to his house , the terrorists had gained entrance into his room by breaking the windows and doors.

“Not satisfied that they could get me, the terrorists moved to the next apartment to break the door when the guard took aim and fired a shot at them .

“The Fulanis were surprised that someone fired at them, but they equally responded with volleys of shot at our direction, yet we had crept away.

Simon was joined by another citizen guard, Mr. Ojabor Odum, and together they continued firing at the kidnappers.

Kidnappers Briefly Took A Couple as Hostages 

Map shows the location of the Karuga suburb of Kaduna. Map by Luka Binniyat.
Map shows the location of the Karuga suburb of Kaduna. Map by Luka Binniyat.

However, noticing that the citizen guards were using only locally fabricated guns, the Fulanis got bolder and started moving towards my friend Simon, Odum and me,”  Oladele said. 

“At this time another group of six armed Fulanis moved from the left flank to engage the citizen guards but, some members of the community also started shooting at the terrorists while blowing whistles. So the whole neighborhood of Karuga Karji lighted up with flares of gun shots for over 45 minutes,” Oladele said to TruthNigeria. 

Unable to withstand  the combined firepower of the citizens guards and the Army, Oladele said the terrorists withdrew and headed to the forest where they came from initially but not without taking along with them Mr. Zakari Ahmadu and his wife as hostages.

According to Zakari Alhamdu, “When the terrorists  got me, they tied me  together with my wife and they were going hour to house but they had to abandon  their quest and rushed my wife and I to the forest.

“They were running and shooting widely into the bush and at some point they ran and left us in the bush near Western Bypass.

“The firefight continued for 30 minutes or so  When the Army arrived and engaged the terrorists who then started fleeing.” Alhamdu said to TruthNigeria

“But the guards also went after them into the bush shooting, and they gave the terrorists chase,” Alhamdu added

“When the vigilantes found us, it was around 12 midnight,” Alhamdu said.

The chief of Karuga who was visibly happy, made an appeal to Kaduna State Governor Uba Sani to send more soldiers and citizens guards to Karuga. 

Mike Odeh James is a Kaduna-based conflict reporter for TruthNigeria.

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