Katsina: Bandits give conditions for ceasefire
Bandits operating in Katsina gave conditions for ceasefire
They demanded the release of their members held in various prisons and requested that “the excesses” of security operatives, traditional rulers and local judges allegedly disposing them of their animals be checked.
Speaking yesterday during an engagement meeting with Governor Aminu Masari at Dankolo village, they said most of them were forced into banditry by perceived hatred from community members, security officers, traditional rulers and local judges.
Idris Yayande, one of the bandits, said: “We have our complaints as well, most of it was some of our people that were arrested like Alhaji Baldu, Alhaji Lawal and Ibrahim Nakutama who were picked on return from hajj. I was arrested also and up till now, I have not been told of my offence. I was detained for 15 months before I was released.
“For the past 5 months, since the fasting period when we met with the community, we have not attacked them. We have no one in captivity, if you hear anything of such is not from this camp.
“Of course, there are places where attacks and kidnappings are happening because we don’t have control of such places, but this place that we took oath to stop, they are protected, we are doing our best”
“You can see farms nowadays which we had in the past vowed that no one will farm them, but you can see people on them farming”
For Haruna Mazge, lack of trust and sincerity is a threat “to this peace initiative. We are tired of hiding as well, please and please, since government has moved in, let us stop this.”
The leader of vigilante in the area, Lawal Tsoho, advised the governor to be wary of some politicians and top government officials who did not want the peace initiative to succeed.
Responding, Governor Masari affirmed that some bandits had been in detention for more than 10 years, saying “you cannot be keeping people for over two years without any charge. So, for those kind of people, we are going to release them on bail, if the police are able to have charges against them, we will look at the charges.
“The hope is that it will bring peace to Katsina state and northwest, we believe we have started well and there is nothing better than peace and dialogue. Once you are exchanging views, certainly, there will be a solution”.