A witness said the kidnappers arrived the viewing centre at about 10 p.m. last Saturday wearing army and police uniforms. According to him, they pretended to be genuine security men detailed to guard the viewing centre, but minutes later launched an operation that saw about seven persons watching a football match whisked away to an unknown destination.
The victims were identified as Sanusi Sani, the owner of the viewing centre, his younger brother, Zubairu Sani, and Bala Maibolu. Others were Yusuf Shekau, Shamsu Dan-Isiya, Bello Kwazo, and Nura Muhammad. The last four were said to be from neighbouring villages and taking refuge at Birnin Magaji town.
The viewing centre is located at Hardo, in the eastern part of Birnin Magaji town. The kidnappers, after the operation, shot sporadically into the air as they left the area with their captives. This alerted soldiers to the community.
Residents said when soldiers arrived the scene the kidnappers had left.
Birnin Magaji is the hometown of Nigeria’s defence minister, Mansur Dan-Ali. Thousands of people from the 30 odd villages in Birnin Magaji and Zumi local government areas are taking refuge in Birnin Magaji town after their villages were sacked by armed bandits.
Many of the displaced persons sleep on the open market space because of insufficient accommodation.
Kidnapping for ransom is rampant in Zamfara state where security operatives have been unable to tackle rampaging armed bandits. Many people have also been killed and thousands displaced from their homes.