“We were forced into this because apart from cattle rustling incidents we faced some years back, we also faced serious harassment and intimidation from security personnel.”
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Some of the bandits in Tsafe Local Government Area of Zamfara State who claimed to have relented on Monday disclosed the reason why they kill and kidnap people.
They disclosed this at a peace meeting in Tsafe that the harassment and intimidation from the police and vigilantes, locally known as” Yan Sakai”, led them to the act of killing and kidnapping.
Hassan Dantawaye, one of the bandits’ commanders, during the meeting held at the palace of the Emir of Tsafe, Alhaji Muhammadu Bawa, said, “the government and society unjustly treated them.”
“We were forced into this because apart from cattle rustling incidents we faced some years back, we also faced serious harassment and intimidation from security personnel and Yansakai.”
“We cannot go to markets, our children cannot go to school, whenever they see our children or wives in town they killed them.
“If security personnel arrest us, we have to spend a lot of money before we are released, sometimes security agencies launch attacks on our homes and kill us without any offence.
“With this ugly trend, we have no option than to embark on kidnapping, attacks, and other crimes,” Dantawaye said.
One of the Fulani leaders, Alhaji Madele, however, appreciates the government of the state for the dialogue and urged the security agencies to protect them from” Yansakai and some security personnel who attack them unjustly in markets and towns.
Madele said, “we have agreed to embrace peace and dialogue, we commend the commissioner of police for inviting us for this meeting.”
In response, Alhaji Yahaya Ahmad, the Chairman of the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) in the area, also promised l everyone total support to the peace initiative.
“As from today, no vigilante group or CJTF member would attack any Fulani herder, and we will abide by the state government’s directive in this regard.
“Fulani herders are now free to come to Tsafe town and all major towns in this area. They can go to markets and anywhere else they so wish.
“I am giving them the assurance that our members would not attack them anymore,” he said.
The state Commissioner of Police, Alhaji Usman Nagoggo, who led the meeting, said, “the security situation faced by the state in the past as unfortunate.”
Nagoggo said, “I remember the day I arrived this state as commissioner of police, over 30 persons were killed in Shinkafi local government area.
“After identifying the measures to tackle the problem, the state government came up with the peace and dialogue initiative with the warring parties as part of measures to provide a lasting solution to the problem.
“We embarked on consultation with Fulani leaders, Civilian JTF, and Vigilante Groups, which led to the successes we are recording today.
“From the inception of this dialogue to date we have rescued over 300 kidnapped victims from the bandits without payment of ransom,” he said.
He added: “As I always say, most of the extrajudicial killings and illegal attacks on communities were as a result of the actions of the outlawed vigilante group of “Yansakai, who were taking the law into their hands.
“We aim to have sustainable peace and development in the state; therefore, all stakeholders should cooperate with us in this task.
“I am also reissuing this warning that all activities of “Yansakai are suspended and nobody should take the law into their hands.
“Anybody found violating these directives would face the full wrath of the law”, the Police boss added.
The Emir of Tsafe, Alhaji Muhammadu Bawa appreciated everyone present at the meeting and accepting peace.
Bawa said, “the emirate would continue to support the state government to ensure that the dialogue succeeds.”