Repentant mastermind of Kankara abduction returns to crime

Government Secondary Science School, Kankara, Katsina

Awwalun Daudawa, the man behind the abduction of over 300 students of Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, Katsina State, has reneged on the peace accord he signed with authorities, sources told AFP.

“It was only on Monday that we realised Awwalun Daudawa had returned to his old ways when he didn’t return after the expiration of the one-week period,” A Zamfara state official said.

“We came to understand that he has joined his comrades in the forest near the border with Katsina state.”

Daudawa and several of his men, in February, handed over their weapons to Zamfara State Governor Bello Matawalle in his office, saying they had renounced crime.

But on April 19, Daudawa left his lodging in Zamfara state capital Gusau on the pretext of meeting some criminal gangs in the forest to convince them to accept an amnesty offer and release some hostages, according to Zamfara state government official.

It was gathered that Daudawa never surrendered all his weapons and maintained contact with his gangs in the forest.

“He (Dauda) is definitely back in control of his gangs in Jaja forest in Zurmi district near the border with Katsina state,” said one source who asked not to be identified for security reasons.

The criminal kingpin told Zamfara officials hosting him that he wanted to meet the kidnappers of 39 students abducted from a forestry college in neighbouring Kaduna in March to persuade them to release the remaining 29 students in their custody, the source said.

“Daudawa was too smart for the Zamfara government,” said a second source.

Daudawa, 43, was an armed robber and a cattle rustler before he turned to gun-running. Security sources told AFP that he began bringing in weapons from Libya, where he had received training from jihadists, selling the arms to bandits.