Investigation: Inside The Kidnapping Business In Katsina

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In the year 2018, the news website ‘’TASKAR LABARAI’’ published a warning on the activities of bandits/kidnappers and their sophisticated techniques of operations.

TASKAR LABARAI echoed it in a manner which will attract the attention of the media with a title ‘’ Urgent measures need to be taken, before the situation worsened’’.

A lot of newspapers nationwide at that time carried and published the story. It’s in the web, for whoever wants to see for reference or documentation.

In the story it published, Taskar Labarai called the attention of the authorities and security agencies on what is happening and the need for urgent action before the situation gets out of hand. The publishers shed more light on its findings regarding the banditry.

‘’TASKAR LABARAI and other news websites of ‘’KATSINA CITY NEWS’’ and ‘’THE LINK NEWS’’ have carried out special investigation on whether these bandits have changed their tactics of operations.

The findings are really horrible and disturbing. There is really a need for the authorities to control the situation before it gets out of hand. Whoever knows he is ‘’well to do’’, or has a relative in the government or rather has any link with a business tycoon cannot be sure of his safety.

In our investigations, we have detected many of these bandits have established business ventures in the cities and have assigned care-takers of those businesses on their behalf.

Our findings have revealed how this bandits are adopting modern ways of committing their atrocities by way of getting mostly youth as informants who all the time give them a hint on who has money and who is supposed to be kidnaped. The only job of these informants is to find who has money to rescue himself if he is kidnapped or someone who has a wealthy relative who can pay off and rescue him from the kidnappers.

Their job also involves getting the victims dossier, what time does he leave his home? where and where does he go? who are his friends? Some of the informants also cross-check the victims Facebook page, to find out how he is giving descriptions of his movement, who are his friends and his position in the society.

According to our findings, when they finish their job, they forward their information to a more superior gang.  Who are the sponsors.

This gang is the one that settles the informants. When they collect the information, they study its authenticity and when convinced they pass it on to the other gang residing in the bush.

Those are the strikers. They consult their marabouts and fix a date when they will storm and attack the victim.

After fixing a date, they inform their sponsors. When the sponsors study the situation and feel the time set is feasible, they send a driver and the vehicle to an arranged spot where he will pick the bandits strikers.

The Driver who picked them will convey them to the town or city where they are going to pick the victim. They will meet their informants who will lead them to where they will strike.

Immediately the victim is picked, the driver will also move along with the informant who is acquainted with the road terrain. He will lead them to the bush and turn back to the town or city as if he is unaware of the atrocity committed.

From that point, the sponsors and informants will focus their attention on gathering news and the grief chit chats of the relatives of the victim and the arrangements they are making to pay his ransom. They will also check on the social media to see what the society is saying about the kidnapped victim. They will be passing the messages to the bandits in the bush.

The sponsors will try to get a hint from the security agents whether they are informed on the operation of the bandits. Is there any plan by the security agents to rescue the victim by force? Each of the schemers will play his role to ensure that no loophole is left which will expose them, because none of them can go scot-free if any gap is detected.

When the quoted ransom imposed by the bandits is paid, the money is divided equally as arranged. The driver as well as the informants will collect their own share. The sponsors of the kidnapping as well as those who guard him and the strikers will get their own share.

Our investigation has revealed how the bandits and kidnappers recruit their gang members. Some of the members are convinced to believe there is a lot of gains, and once they conspire in the first operation, they will never be spared. If they make any attempt to withdraw, they are threatened with either death or being exposed.

Some members are recruited after being kidnapped. They will be assured of getting their money back, if they can give a hint on someone they feel is a well to do person in the society. Once they succumb to the pressure and conspire, they will never be free.

In some cases, people are forced to become members of the bandits. They are threatened by the bandits, ‘’cooperate with us or else we pick you; we know where you are? You cannot hide from us?’’. Those who surrender to this pressure once they give up, they will never exempt themselves.

There are also instances where house helps are forced to become members. They are pressurized to breach the trust given to them by their masters by way of giving information on his movements, setting eyes on him and his affairs. They are promised a big bounty at the end of the operation. Once they cooperate, they become members of the gang and will never be spared.

Whoever connives with the gang through whichever circumstance, our findings revealed to us that he will never withdraw himself. Any attempt to do that, will land him in trouble of either losing his life or mischievously link to his arrest by security agents.

The investigation has revealed to us, that this particular gang of members in the kidnapping circle are increasing in the cities, and almost all the operations being orchestrated in towns and cities, they have a hand in its coordination.

Our findings have revealed how this particular gang of kidnapping ring is carefully becoming organized and widespread in Katsina, Funtua and Daura and some bigger towns including local government headquarters.

We have a hint from our findings that they do not meet face to face. Almost all their discussions are by phone, with a language or words based known to themselves. They send messages with words known to them only; like ‘’a have a house for sell; and its highly profitable.’’ ‘’All is done?’’ ‘’Yes of course.’’ ‘’How much is the gain?’’. This is how they converse with each other with words unknown to the public.

We have found in our investigation that some of the kidnappers/bandits are tired of life in the bushes. That is why, they sneak into the towns and cities to relax from time to time. But they do this by interchanging where they originate. For instance, those from Katsina State sneak and relax in Kaduna where they are not known and vice versa.

How do they pick their victim? It’s the same approach and has not changed. They always ensure that whoever they pick, they do it successfully without being caught. That is why they normally operate at night or where they know their victim is in isolation with no helping hand. Whenever they want to operate, their prayer is to find the streets empty with no security checkpoints.

We have found in our investigation, whenever they are making preparations to storm a place and commit their atrocities, the strikers holding guns normally take hard drugs and other substances which will lead them to losing their senses so that they will not have any fear. But the driver and someone in their midst will not take any drug, so that at least, they have some people who could take them to safety in case the operation encounters any obstacle.

We have studied and found It’s the same terrain that is followed in the different kidnappings committed in Katsina, Kankia, Funtua and Musawa. There are elements of these strategies we mentioned above.

The situation as we have mentioned would have been controlled had it been tacked in its early days before it worsened.

The measures that needs to be taken now, is to advise everyone and sundry to be on alert and for the security agencies to rise and change their tactics of operations in order to concur the bandits/kidnappers.

We compiled this report after interviewing some kidnapped victims who regained their freedom and some kidnappers who fell in the hands of the security agents as well as some people who claimed they were at one time or another threatened by the bandits/kidnappers to join the gang.and some repentant vandits.




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