Of Molly Kilete, Abuja

A group bandits who terrorized the people of Dass village in Bauchi state met their Waterloo.

The bandits reportedly moved from Kastina State to Dass, after they could no longer withstand the continuous shelling by the army.

Arriving at the village of Dass, they began stealing cows, kidnapping high-ranking natives, collecting huge sums of ransom money, threatening to kill anyone who would challenge them. They also recruited some of the young men in the village to join them in their nefarious activities.

Among the villagers recruited by the gang is Hashimu Galadima, 45, who until he joined the gang was a rice farmer. Galadima, who had moved to Nasarawa state to do his rice farming business, returned to his village and met the three Fulani men who were terrorizing the village and who approached him to join them after hearing the news of their atrocities by other villagers.

Hashimu alongside other young men in the village have been recruited to work as informants, who monitor the activities of all men perceived to be wealthy in the village and work out the terms of their abduction and collect huge sums from their relatives as of ransom.

The suspect who said he joined the group a year ago, said he earned a good amount of money which he invested in his rice farming business and bought weapons to carry out his criminal activities.

He and some of his gang members met their Waterloo after he killed a Bauchi National Assembly member Dr. Musa Mato, took 2 million naira from him and kidnapped his wife and sister whom they placed in custody.

They also killed a retired Divisional Police Officer (DPO) from the village who was accused of disrupting several criminal activities while on duty.

The suspect who was arrested by IGP Intelligence Response Team officers and marched past reporters spoke to Sunday Sun in this interview. Continue reading:

My name is Hashimu Galadima. I am 45 years old. I was a farmer before I joined a kidnap-for-ransom group in my village. In fact, I joined the group last year. I was brought into the gang by a group of Fulani herders who were terrorizing our village with their murderous activities. They came from Katsina State to our village Dass, Bauchi State and forced people to join their gang or get killed. They are three in number and for fear of not being killed, people joined them. They used to steal cows but I did not join them because I used to travel to Nassarawa State to do rice farming. It was when I returned from one of my trips that they approached me to join their gang. I didn’t know what they were doing when they asked me to join them, so I asked about the nature of their work and they said I will know when I return to work. So one day they asked me out and I did.

They took me to the house of an honorable member of the Bauchi State Assembly, representing the Dass local government area. His name is Dr. Musa Mante. Arriving at his house, that’s when I realized the kind of activity of these Fulani men and I tried to challenge them, but they threatened to shoot me so I obeyed their orders. We entered the house and searched everywhere until we found the honorable member in his room. We first took the 2 million naira he offered us before killing him. After we killed him, we kidnapped his wife and sister, took them to Maigoshi Mountain somewhere in Dass and kept them there for about three days. But while we were on the mountain, the kidnappers learned that the Bauchi State government had mobilized the security agencies to come and bomb the area and they asked us to run for our lives before they came. kill us. They were getting calls from people while we were there and at some point they said the place was no longer safe and we had to escape. We fled leaving the hostages behind because we couldn’t accompany them. We all followed different paths, some of us moved to Jos, Nassarawa and other states for security reasons while some of us ran to other villages in Bauchi. But before we separated they split the 2 million naira we collected from the deceased legislator and gave me 150,000 naira, and they told me to give some of the money to one of our gang members Abdulwahab Alhassan popularly known as Emeka because he was the one who actually brought the case to rob the legislator and even took us home but he didn’t follow us for the operation. With their instructions, I gave Emeka N50,000 and took N100,000. Also, the weapons we used for the operation, three AK-47 rifles were rented from someone and they gave him paid 400,000 naira, then they split the balance.

After we fled, the victims were able to escape and went to their homes and told the security agencies the very place where we were keeping them. With this information, the police chased us. For me, I left Dass, ran to Toro village and hid in the bush. Before leaving Dass, I had a gun which I sold to a friend of mine, Alhaji Ahmadu Sani, for 340,000 naira. I was in the bush when the police came and arrested me.

Besides the honorable member, we also killed a former retired divisional police officer in the village. The bandits said the man used to bother them when he was on the force and disrupted their operations on several occasions.

The person who led the operation to kill the DPO is a certain Saleh, who is now on the run. He said they tried to kill the DPO while he was still in the force, but that was not possible, so they left him until he retired. On the day of the operation we went to the DPO at night and when we got there they asked me to be on call and alert them of the intruders. I was holding a cutlass that night while my three Fulani friends had AK 47 rifles. Upon entering the house, the DPD heard their footsteps and shouted who is it, but they did not respond. They surrounded his room where he used to sleep and opened fire and killed him. From there we left the house and went for another operation. I pity my act and I regret having embarked on the robbery, I would have continued my rice-growing activity if I had known that I would one day end up in police custody, I would not have joined them.