No fewer than 19,000 cows that were stolen from herdsmen in various parts of Kaduna state have been recovered by security operatives while suspected rustlers were also arrested.
The Special Adviser to the state governor on internal Security, Mr Yakubu Yusuf, disclosed this during the handing over of recovered stolen cows and goats to their respective owners in Kagarko and Kachia Local Government Areas of the state.
He says that the state government is not leaving any stone unturned in the ongoing effort to flush cattle rustlers and other criminal elements out of the state.
Cattle rustling has become an emerging security challenge that has continued to threaten human security and economic activities in the rural pastoralists’ communities and commercial farms in Kaduna state, and some other parts of Northern Nigeria.
The human cost associated with such attacks is immense, as several herders and farmers have been killed by the armed bandits.
Early this year, the livestock raiders attacked about six farms in a span of one week in Kachia Local Government Area and stole over a hundred cattle, killing one herdsman.
Within the same period, the thieves invaded another farm in Dinki village along the Kaduna-Zaria road, where they stole about 105 cattle including sheep and goats. A security guard on duty also lost his life during the attack.
The thieves attacked herders’ camps in Jere Town and adjoining towns in April this year, where they stole about 203 cattle also in two days.
Most of the animal rustlers in Kaduna and neighbouring states live in the thick forest of Kamuku, in Birnin Gwari Local Government Area of the state according to security operatives.
Worried over the growing rate of the crime in the state, the state government inaugurated a committee comprising of security operatives from the Nigerian Police, Army and Airforce. So far, their operations have started yielding positive result with the huge recoveries made.
The Governor’s security adviser explained that the recovery was made possible through intelligence information from members of the public, applauds the contribution of security operatives for their role in ensuring that activities of rustlers and other criminals are reduced to the barest minimum across the state.
He also added that security agents in the state have so far recovered over 19, 000 cows since the government began efforts to rid the state of cattle rustlers over a year ago adding that the outfit had set up collation centres for the recovered animals in Birnin Gwari, Zaria, Kachia and Jere.
A major boost to the operation is the recovery of over 600 stolen cows by the operatives of the Nigerian Airforce under the ‘Operation SHARAN DAJI’. The commander of 335 Base Group, who handed over the recovered animals to representative of the Kaduna State government at the Airforce Base in Mando, Air Commodore Bello Garba, says the operation is in line with the directive of the Chief of Air Staff .
He pledged the continuous support of security agencies in bringing animal rustling to an end.
Members of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, Ahmadu Sulaiman, commend the security agencies and Kaduna State government for their effort in flushing rustlers out of the state.
Attacks on pastoralists have become a reoccurring in Kaduna State, in most cases, the entire villages and herders’ camps are displaced. The emergence of the joint task force operation against cattle rustling and armed banditry in the state, is expected to bring the crimes to the barest minimum.