Between 2011 and 2019, terrorists in Zamfara collected more than N3 billion as ransom from the 3,672 people they abducted, a report commissioned by the Zamfara State Government has revealed.
According to the report, by a committee set up by the government in 2019 to review the state of insecurity in the state, the activities of terror gangs, popularly called bandits, also led to the displacement of 190,340 people within the period.
The committee, which was headed by a retired police chief, also revealed that 4,983 women were widowed, and 25,050 children were orphaned within the period.
The report further revealed that herdsmen lost 2,015 cattle, 141 sheep and goats, and 2,600 donkeys and camels to rustlers while 147,800 vehicles, including motorcycles and others, were burnt or destroyed within the period.
Following increasing violence and kidnap for ransom in the state, the state governor, Bello Matawalle, set up the committee headed by a former Inspector-General of Police, Muhammad Abubakar, in 2019, to review the insecurity in the state between June 2011 and May 29, 2019.
The Zamfara government, however, said since Mr Matawalle became governor, he has tackled and reduced insecurity in the state.
The governor’s claim of reducing insecurity is, however, curious as Zamfara is still one of the most insecure places in the country. Terrorists are still running amok across the state, kidnapping, pillaging, and killing residents. In some parts of the state, the terrorists run parallel administrations; collecting taxes and levies and making decrees.
In a statement through his media aide, Zailani Baffa, the governor said that in his effort to reduce insecurity, he dialogued with the terrorists and their parents because a majority of the bandits are indigenous Fulani people from Zamfara State.
The governor said he also appealed to the country’s military to use non-forceful means to solve the conflict in the state.
He said after several meetings with the terrorists and their leaders, the following agreements were reached:
“That all vigilante groups (Yan Sa Kai) will be disbanded at the request of the bandits.
“That the Fulanis will be provided with social services as enjoyed by other towns in the state.
“That all Fulani held in the hands of Yan Sa Kai for charges of banditry will be released.
“The state government in turn requested a stop to abduction and killings by bandits.
“That all captives will be released without ransom.
“That all bandits will disarm within a short period.
“The above agreements were translated into big a success as the bandits (within nine months) released nearly 3,000 captives without ransom. They also stopped attacks either on highways, towns or villages or the markets and farms. They also surrendered over 1000 Ak47 guns and other assorted weapons, he added.
“In the same vein, the state government proscribed the Vigilante Group and started building modern RUGA in each of the three senatorial districts in the state. The RUGA at Maradun was almost completed with everything needed for modern life for the grazing Fulani.
“It has 200 pro-type houses, a hospital, a veterinary clinic, a water canal, a grazing area, a police post, a primary school, a mini-stadium, worshipping places and many other basic requirements needed for comfortable living,” Mr Matawalle added.
The governor said that after the federal government cancelled negotiations with terror gangs, he introduced what was known as the “carrot and stick” approach which involved the use of both ‘kinetic and non-kinetic’ approaches to ending banditry in the state.
He said in the new approach, bandits who accept to lay down their arms will be re-absorbed into society.
He said he empowered the security operatives with brand new Hilux vans equipped with communication gadgets. He said he also provided them with monthly imprest for their maintenance and daily upkeep allowance to these officers on the operation.
The administration introduced measures of incapacitating the bandits to give security operatives the upper hand. These include a ban on selling food in bulk to avoid transiting the same to bandits in the bush.
Also, the government banned fuel black markets and sold minimal litres of fuel at approved filling stations. This is to avoid supply to bandits in the bush.
He said he also banned weekly markets to avoid selling ammunition under the cover of the crowd. He also banned the selling of livestock outside the state to reduce cattle rustling.
“Cutting off communication with cell phones for about two months to disable informants and allow the security operatives to rout the bandit’s camps
“The Government recently introduced measures to allow citizens to apply for and own guns for self-protection. We introduced and launched the Community protection Guards (CPG) and assisted them with 1,500 motorbikes and 20 Hilux buses and will assist them to apply for and get gun licences to protect their villages,” the governor said.
The post Terrorists collect N3 billion as ransom in Zamfara, displace 190,000 people in eight years appeared first on NEWS.