Some bandits who repented their bad ways have disclosed that the harassment they received in the hands of policemen and vigilante operatives made them to take up arms against the society and indulged in all criminal acts.
The repentant bandits who made the disclosure in Tsafe local government of Zamfara State, Monday at a peace meeting held at the palace of emir of Tsafe, Alhaji Muhammadu Bawa.
Hassan Dantawaye, a commander of the repentant bandits while disclosing reasons behind their insurrection at the meeting said they were unjustly persecuted by government agencies and the society.
“We were forced into this, because apart from cattle rustling incidents we faced some years back, we also faced serious harrassment 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 others crimes”, Dantawaye said.
Also commenting, a Fulani leader, Alhaji Madele, appreciated the efforts of the state government to engage the Fulani militia in dialogue and urged the security agencies to protect them from the fury of local vigilante and some security personnel who attack them unjustly in markets and towns.
“we have agreed to embrace peace and dialogue, we commend the commissioner of police for inviting us for this meeting”.
The repentant bandits’ commanders also promised to release all captives in their custody promising not to attack anybody again.
They urged farmers to go back to their farmlands without any fear of attack.
The Chairman of the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) in the area, Alhaji Yahaya Ahmad, guaranteed their unabashed support to the peace initiative.
“As from today, no vigilante group or CJTF member would attack any fulani herder, 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 any more”, he said.
The state Commissioner of Police, Alhaji Usman Nagoggo who chaired the meeting, described the security situation faced by the state in 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 diologue initiative with the warring parties as part of measures to provide 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 diologue 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 extra judicial 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.
“Our aim is 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 thanked the warring parties for attending the meeting and accepting peace. Bawa said the emirate would continue to support the state government to ensure that the diologue succeeds.