Monday, August 8, 2022

We used N60 million ransom to buy more weapons: Zamfara Bandits

The N60 million was ransom for the release of almost 300 schoolgirls of Government Girls Secondary School in Zamfara abducted on
February 26, 2021.

• July 23, 2022
Bandits
Bandits used to illustrate the story

The N60 million ransom paid for the release of almost 300 abducted schoolgirls of Government Girls Secondary School (GGSS) in Jangebe town, Zamfara State, were used in buying more weapons, a bandit warlord has revealed.

The revelation was contained in a BBC Africa Eye documentary titled “The Bandit Warlords of Zamfara” set to air July 25, giving credence to claims that the government has been bankrolling bandits’ operations through ransom payment.

“We bought more rifles,” confidently replied the bandit warlord when asked what the ransom was used for.

On February 26, 2021, about 279 schoolgirls were abducted from the GGSS boarding facility. The bandits later released them on March 2, 2021.

Bello Matawalle, governor of Zamfara state had attributed the girls’ release to the successful negotiation skills of 30 repentant bandits, insisting no ransom was paid.

However, the warlord’s revelation has cast new aspersions on Mr Matawalle’s statement, causing citizens to doubt the genuineness of the so-called fight against insecurity and the President Muhammadu Buhari regime’s controversial policy to pardon and rehabilitate terrorists.

The documentary further revealed how Ado Aleru, one of the most ferocious and wanted bandit warlords, was recently conferred with the chieftaincy title of Sarkin Fulani (chief of the fulanis) by Aliyu Marafa, Emir of Birnin Yandoto of Tsafe LGA of Zamfara state.

Although, Mr Matawalle has since suspended Mr Marafa and ordered traditional rulers to seek permission and clearance from state government before conferring chieftaincy titles, many citizens believe that the federal and affected state governments are too soft in their approach towards the criminal elements.

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