Speaking to select Journalists in Abuja over the weekend, Gumi urged authorities to engage the local vigilante to assist in fishing out the bandits.
Hon. Suleiman Abubakar Gumi, a member of the House of Representatives representing Gummi/Bukkuyum Federal Constituency of Zamfara State has raised alarm over the activities of bandits in his state.
Gumi said bandits in Zamfara State are targeting and killing male children in the state, according to a report by Vanguard.
He said the development is worrisome.
Speaking to a select Journalists in Abuja over the weekend, Gumi who is also a member of House Committees on Appropriations and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) speaker to the authorities to engage the local vigilante to assist in fishing out the bandits.
He said: “One life lost is like killing the whole of humanity. So, having tens of people killed in cold blood is a cause for concern for every human being. So, it’s a worrisome development especially that after the long silence of reduced number of killings and suddenly the sudden escalation, definitely call for concern.
“You know we lost about 56 souls in one attack and a lot of properties and people are living from hand to mouth and still the little they have is being destroyed, their animals killed or carted away, children especially male child killed is a worrisome development.
“There’s a town in Anka Local Government, to and one in my own Constituency – Bukkuyum and Kuffa, Kuffa is in the main town where people are, so they went for a meeting and the town was left open and informants in their usual manner, informed the bandits and they came and by the time the vigilantes returned they were ambushed and most of the casualties are those vigilantes in Anka but in Bukkuyum, once the opportunity is there, there’s nobody even the village in Bukkuyum.
“Bukuffa is also a notorious place where they cannot infiltrate normally. So, they got the opportunity they entered and they were looking for every male child to kill, no matter how small they will open and see if it’s a girl, they will leave but if it’s a boy, they will bring him out and kill him.
“And they were looking for men mostly and then the women flee. So, that change in tactics is telling us that something has changed too. I’m not sure if it has to do with the declaration of them as terrorists, but it might be because if you declare someone a terrorist, that means the strategy, your own rule of engagement changes and that means they have to change their own rules of engagement too. Maybe it has to do with them being declared as terrorists. If that would solve the problem, 100% for it, but it’s already done so we have to now expect maybe rise in action by them. Then, gradually it will come down. I’m very optimistic it will, what I’ve seen has happened in Shinkafi area I believe it’s a very stronghold, a stronghold with about 150 groups and most of them under the command of Turuji.
“And now we heard he’s on the run, some are saying he’s even in Kwara state. He’s now in the Kwara forest is what we are hearing. It’s unconfirmed but definitely he’s on the run. That means that’s a good thing. If they can dislodge Turuji and other bandits that were killed through an air raid, and if that is sustained, you put them in disarray and they would all disperse. Then the next thing is security agents especially the non-uniform security outfits should infiltrate all these places and apprehend them one by one. So before you know it, this whole thing will come to an end”.
Revealing the efforts of the State Governor, Hon. Bello Matawalle at curtailing the ugly incidences of killing, Gumi who hinted that the army and police were overstretched said that the authorities must restrategize to win the war against banditry.
“The government is doing a lot. Reecently, the Governor of the State, His Excellency, Governor Bello Matawalle went to Niger Republic. This is another strategy to cut the supply of arms and ammunition because Niger is the main route for weapons proliferation. If we can get Niger Republic to block all access to all entry points, then what the bandits have will definitely depreciate and naturally the cessation of the fight too will cease. That’s one angle.
“The Military is over-stretched, the Police can’t be everywhere and if we can get the Vigilantes to guard the villages that are within the outskirt of Local Governments and bigger cities, then we would have a very good arm of security for people that are not covered by the security agents.
“At least, that will give the people some buffer before the security agents come for reinforcement. That’s another angle he’s looking at. He (Governor) has once engaged those bandits that are trying to stop the act. You know, going by the antecedent of what is happening in Zamfara, we have two sets of bandits, we have those that are just trying to defend themselves from being profiled because of the actions of others, and they are forced to pick arms to defend themselves. And at the end of the day, they all go back to banditry because once you seclude yourself in an area where you cannot have the economic gains, what do you do, the easiest thing is to kidnap and get money to buy more weapons and feed your army.
“So, if we can get those ones to stop their act and come back to the main folk through some form of amnesty, then what is left in the forest can be easily dealt with, those original bandits we can kill them, you can show them that government is stronger than any individual in this country and based on that it is only way we can have peace. Let them see the force of the government them they will accept peace by force. Otherwise we will just go into a killing frenzy, they kill, we kill, they kill, we kill and before you know it a lot of people will lose their lives before we achieve peace.
“So, there’s a lot to be done especially in the area of re-strategizing on how to engage them. You know at the beginning, the Army and the Police are alien to this method of criminality in our society, but they had enough time to learn the way in which to operate so that we can stop this thing but without re-strategizing, then we continue doing the same thing they will attack then you send your force, you guard a place that they have already attacked, you know the same circle will continue. So we have to sit down and re-strategize and find ways which we can stop this carnage”, Gumi said.