By Francis Sardauna in Katsina
Governor Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina State on Monday said repentant bandits have released five persons including women in their custody as part of the ongoing dialogue between the state government and the miscreants to restore peace in the state.
The governor, therefore, urged residents of the state to allow the repentant bandits carry out their commercial activities in markets across the state.
Governor Masari, who was speaking in Baranda village of Batsari Local Government Area during a reconciliation meeting with the bandits, said the victims were freed on Sunday and had since been reunited with their families.
However, Dangote and Dankarami, which are the strongholds of bandits in Batsari Local Government, were absent at the reconciliation meeting because “they are at loggerhead with each other”.
The two villages, which sent their representatives to the meeting, were said to have numerous bandits’ camps in Katsina and Zamfara States with many kidnapped persons in their custody.
Masari said: “Five people including three women that were kidnapped by the bandits have been released by them. Three women left my house this morning (Monday) to their houses. And the bandits also promised to free the remaining people in their custody,” he said.
He however directed security agencies in the state to protect the lives and properties of the citizenry residing in rural settlements and urged them to shun extortion.
In his remarks, the state Commissioner of Police Sanusi Buba urged the bandits terrorizing innocent citizens in the state to surrender their weapons and work with security agencies to maintain peace or face the wrath of the law.
Earlier, the Transition Committee Chairman of Batsari Local Government, Mr. Mannir Mu’azu, said the council would inaugurate a security committee to ensure that harmonious co-existence is restored in the area.
Some of the bandits, Abdullahi Ibrahim and Fulani Shafe, who spoke during the meeting, commended Governor Masari for initiating the dialogue and vowed to surrender their arms for the sustainability of peace in the state.
Meanwhile, as at press time, Governor Masari and other top government officials, including security chiefs in the state, were heading to Shinfida village of Jibia Local Government for another interface with the bandits.