Bandits are raiding Katsina farming communities to steal food ahead of the upcoming harvest season, the state governor Aminu Masari has revealed.

Mr Masari raised the alarm Tuesday, in Katsina, at a consultative briefing he held with the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, on the security situation in the state.

The briefing was attended by heads of security agencies in the state, traditional rulers, political and religious leaders, civil society groups and other stakeholders.

“Because of hunger, bandits are moving towards communities around the forest area. They know that harvest time is approaching and their plan is to harvest crops and steal food items planted by farmers,” he said.

Mr Masari said the bandits’ relocation were due to the suspension of mobile telecommunication networks and ban of sale of petroleum products by filling stations.

He charged the security chiefs to deal decisively with the criminals, reiterating his position not to negotiate with bandits whom, he described, as criminals who were neither fighting for a religious or ideological cause.

Mr Masari disclosed that affected states had resolved to engage no fewer than 3,000 hunters and vigilantes to be trained by the police to protect communities.

The governor said Katsina would recruit 500 hunters and vigilantes – 250 each from Katsina and Daura Emirates to protect communities from bandit attacks. He said the hunters and vigilantes would be stationed permanently in the communities after the military had left.