A federal lawmaker representing Gummi/Bukkuyum Federal Constituency in Zamfara State in the House of Representatives, Suleiman Abubakar Gumi, has said that a notorious bandits’ leader, Bello Turji, who controlled over 150 groups in the north, has fled to a forest in Kwara State.
Gumi added that though Turji’s relocation was still unconfirmed, it was a sign that the military had dislodged him from his stronghold in the Shinkafi Local Government Area of Zamfara.
He stated this in Abuja in an interview with journalists, noting that when the bandits attacked any community, they would invade houses and whenever they saw a girl, they would spare them; but they killed every male child in the communities.
The lawmaker 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 fled. 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 your own rule of engagement changes and that means they have to change their own rules of engagement too.
“I’ve seen what happened in Shinkafi area; I believe it’s a 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; that's what we are hearing. It’s unconfirmed but definitely he’s on the run.
“That means it'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.”