From Agaju Madugba, Katsina
The Katsina State Government may have bowed to the pressure from incessant and ruthless attacks by bandits operating in the area apparently forcing it to resume an abandoned dialogue initiative with the hoodlums.
Still basking in the euphoria of the recent rescue of 344 students of Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, Governor Aminu Bello Masari on Thursday evening at the Government House received another batch of 77 persons earlier abducted by bandits from Batsari and Jibia local government areas.
Claiming that government did not pay any ransom for the release of the kidnap victims, Masari explained that their rescue was the result of an undefined collaboration with government, Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association and the security agencies.
He explained that government had earlier secured the release of 27 kidnap victims comprising 16 from Sabuwa, Faskari and Dandume, and 10 from Danmusa local government areas.
According to Masari, with the successful rescue of the Kankara students, “we saw an opener and we are working with the leadership of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association in cooperation with the police, the army, the DSS, the Airforce and other security agencies to bring back as many of kidnap victims as possible. The process is still ongoing and we are doing this as quietly as we can to make sure that nobody is harmed and further kidnapping is stopped.”
However, the Commissioner of Police, Sanusi Buba, hinted that the release of the latest kidnap victims may not be unconnected with the recent visit of the Inspector General Of Police (IGP) Muhammad Adamu, during which, “machinery was put in place to make bandits commit to releasing their victims.”
According to him, “this process has been on for some days and we are making efforts to ensure that all those who are still in captivity are safely rescued without the payment of any ransom or hindrance. We hope and pray that this method will not only be limited to Katsina State but will go beyond to all other vulnerable states.”
Following seeming endless abductions, cattle rustling and other forms of criminality, Masari had in July 2019 embarked on peace campaigns which took him to the forest haven of a cross section of bandits in parts of the state.
But results of the dialogue initiative could not be sustained, a development which the governor attributed to betrayal on the part of the bandits.
The orgy of kidnapping for ransom, rape, arson and cattle rustling eventually resurfaced culminating in perhaps the most daring and ambitious act of brigandage thus far in the state, the abduction of the Kankara boys from their school hostel on December 11, 2020.
“I have instructed the security operatives to deal ruthlessly with the bandits until they are rendered permanently ineffective,” an embattled Masari said, days after the Kankara incident.