Exclusive: How Rumor on Dogo Gide Death Started and the Enablers of Its Spread

This is not the first time Dogo Gide has been announced dead, but this time, the information was widely shared. 

An online website published a report on March 27, 2024. That was the first sighting; then, three Facebook groups posted the stories around 1:30 a.m. That was the second sighting, then X, formerly known as Twitter, became the third sighting around 5:00 am on the same day, and what followed was an unconfirmed news going viral.

What these three online platforms have in common is Dogo Gide. They all contributed to the widely spread of an unconfirmed report about the death of the notorious terrorist leader operating in the Northwestern part of the country.

Who is Dogo Gide, though? How did the news of his passing get to thousands of people in less than 12 hours, and what is the story behind his alleged death?

Many people in Nigeria experience fear and worry when they hear the moniker Dogo Gide, often referred to as Kachalla Yellow, particularly in the northwest of the country. His image is one of terror, mass killings, and kidnappings for ransom. For his victims, his portraits evoke grief and tears. Despite Gide’s residence in the underworld, his terror operations are emblazoned on the walls of nearby towns and villages.

This is not the first time Dogo Gide’s is being announced dead; in 2021, PRNigeria reported that Gide was killed after he was shot dead by the deputy leader of his group, one Sani Dan Makama.

Who is behind the story and how did it spread?

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An analysis we conducted online discovered that Media Smart News, an online news outlet, announced the death of Dogo Gide in a report titled “Breaking: Notorious Bandit Leader Dogo Gide is finally dead,” stating further that Dogo Gide succumbed to gunshot wounds sustained during a confrontation with troops of Operation Hadarin Daji (OPHD).

The report was then immediately shared after its publication by three Facebook groups: Zamfara State Media Forum, Dauda Lawal Dare Organizatio Media for Governor 2023, and Jihar Zamfara Ayau.

The facebook Groups. Credit: Crowdtange

Four hours later, an X user with 124,000 followers, Imran Muhammad (@Imranmuhdz), published the news on his handle, though without crediting Media Smart News on his post. This was followed by other accounts with a sizable following, including those that support the government and the military.

We found more than hundred accounts on X and pages on facebook posting about the death of Gide ranging from a couple of minutes to several hours.

A former presidential spokesman Bashir Ahmad (@BashirAhmaad) with 1,689,921 followers on his X account said, “Woke up to the good news that Dogo Gide, has finally kicked the bucket. The notorious bandits leader died from gunshot wounds sustained during a confrontation with Operation Hadarin Daji (OPHD) forces.”

A pro-Nigeria-military X account, @mobilisingniger, with 13,232 followers, said, “Congratulations to the Nigerian Military Dogo Gide has been finally neutralized, Dogo Gide was one of the notorious bandit kingpin in the NORTHWEST.” (sic)

@mobilisingniger replied “confirmed” after a follower inquired about the veracity of Gide’s death.

Another account that posts regular pro-military updates, @DejiAdesogan with 106,561 followers made two posts (here and here) celebrating the killing of Dogo Gide.

Multiple online websites also reported Gide’s death.


Caption: Some accounts on X that spread the news about Gide’s death

A deceased person’s photo was shared on social media by several accounts in an attempt to corroborate the alleged death of the legendary terror mastermind Dogo Gide.

In reaction to the viral image on X @Edrees4P, a researcher with extensive knowledge of the instability in northern Nigeria refuted that the image in circulation was of Dogo Gide.

A security analyst and counter-insurgency specialist in the Lake Chad region, @Zagazola, also on X, said the picture in circulation was not that of the terrorist leader.

Abdallah Habeeb, a Facebook user from Kaduna, gave further details and named the individual in the photo as Dan Asabe. He said the deceased, who was from a community in Kaduna State, passed away in Lagos two weeks ago.

“Dan Allah, before we spread out a news make sure we verified it, I have been seeing this picture going viral that he is DOGO GIDE, I want everyone to disregard the news, this is not DOGO GIDE, he is Dan Asabe known as Sabebe. He is from Tudun Nupawa here in Kaduna,” he continued. “He was into scrap business in Lagos and he was a former football player of Lambu United… He had an accident at Seme Border almost two weeks ago”, he posted on Facebook. (sic)

What’s the story about Gide’s death?

Despite the reports by Media Smart News and others, we were able to establish that the banditry kingpin is alive.

In order to investigate the controversy surrounding Dogo Gide’s purported death, we tracked the reporter who authored the report—whose identity is being withheld owing to security reasons—and informed us that the information on Gide’s origins came from a credible source.

According to the reporter, the incident in the published report happened. However, he received information from the source that a bandit, who security personnel were tracking and believed to be Dogo Gide, was killed during a confrontation with the security personnel (troops of Operation Hadarin Daji (OPHD)), hence the report he published.

Security personnel had been pursuing bandits who had abducted more than 100 schoolchildren from Kuriga, Kaduna State, with the belief that they were being taken captive in Zamfara in what was one of Nigeria’s largest mass kidnappings in years. 

The schoolchildren were released two weeks after they were taken away from the community, which is located along the Kaduna Birnin-Gwari Road, which has been terrorised by bandits for many years. 

Additionally, the reporter told us that two days after filing his story, he received word from another source stating that Gide was still alive and had been spotted on Monday, March 25, 2024, at Kizara village in Tsafe LGA, engaging with village residents and killing a cow for them.

Kizara is reportedly one of the terror hotspots for banditry in Zamfara State, a hazardous State in the country. The village is close to bandit camp Muniaye (sic) in Zamfara State.

The village was among six villages attacked by bandits, which left scores of villagers dead in Zamfara State in 2021.

Dogo Gide: The terror warlord possessing extensive networks

Gide, according to the report, was born Abubakar Abdullahi. He is an indigene of the Maru local government area of Zamfara State, but his exact community remains unknown.

He is reported to have launched his illegal operation in the Kuyanbana forest, targeting villages along the borders of Niger, Kaduna, and even the Kebbi States. He reportedly has ties to Ansaru, a terrorist organisation that was once a part of Boko Haram but declared its independence in 2012.

His crimes include armed robbery, sexual assault, kidnapping, and cattle rustling.

In 2018, Gide rose to prominence by assassinating his boss, the equally infamous Buharin Daji. According to numerous accounts, he also assassinated Damina, another well-known bandit leader.

Many attacks in North-West and North-Central Nigeria were carried out by Gide. Many families in some northern states have suffered greatly as a result of Gide’s reign of terror, having lost loved ones and valuables to his violent actions in numerous towns.

His gang was thought to be responsible for the kidnapping of over 100 students and five professors from FGC Yauri in Kebbi State on June 17, 2021.

He took credit for the downing of a Nigerian Air Force helicopter in Niger State in August 2023. Gide’s foot soldiers were shown in a two-minute, seventeen-second video film celebrating the downing of the chopper.

According to military authorities at the time, the helicopter crashed while it was en route to evacuate some of the soldiers that the terrorists had ambushed and killed in the state.

He was among those suspected of being the mastermind of the attack on a train headed for Abuja on March 28, 2022.

A historian and lecturer at the Department of History at the Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, who has studied the pattern of banditry in northern Nigeria, Murtala Ahmed-Rufai, noted in his book titled ‘I am a Bandit’ that Gide is well connected and has a lot of money and weapons.

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