Military air strikes kill only innocent civilians in affected local government areas and five communities and not bandits, Zamfara State Council of Traditional Rulers has said.
The traditional rulers, who spoke through Emir of Bungudu, Alhaji Hassan Attahiru, told newsmen, yesterday, that the air strikes have not been effective in uprooting bandits.
Reports from the four local governments of Zurmi, Tsafe, Gusau and Anka indicated that about five communities where the air strikes were carried out did not hit hideouts of bandits, according to the traditional rulers.
Rather, they said innocent civilians were victims of the strikes.
The Council of Chiefs also faulted Defence Minister Lt. Gen. Mansur Dan Ali who alleged some traditional rulers were supporting banditry.
The emir expressed dismay over the allegation and called on the minister to “as a matter of responsibility and urgency name those traditional rulers involve in such reprehensive activities for government to take appropriate measures against them.”
Failure to disclose the traditional rulers involved, according to Attahiru, will render the minister’s statement false as just an attempt to tarnish the image of the traditional institution. The traditional rulers further noted “with grave concern, the deteriorating security problems in Zamfara state,” but commended efforts of the state and the federal governments in addressing the challenge.
Declaring their support, the ruler said: “In the past years, traditional rulers have cooperated with government and security agencies, by providing information about locations, routes and names of persons (who) engage in such criminal activities, unfortunately, the military and other security agencies have failed to be on top of situation…”