The Zamfara State government has described its peace and reconciliation initiative as the best way to address armed banditry in the state.
This was contained in a statement issued by Mr Zailani Bappa, Special Adviser to the Governor on Public Enlightenment, Media and Communications, in Gusau on Sunday.
He dismissed the allegation that the state government was giving more attention to bandits as a result of the peace process, saying this was unfounded and mere fabrications by mischief-makers.
According to him, a lot has been achieved by security operatives in the fight against unrepentant bandits, who have continued to terrorise innocent citizens in the state and other parts of the north-western states.
Bappa said, “The position of the Gov. Bello Matawalle-led administration is very clear, which is a carrot and stick approach to the dialogue and peace process.
“Those who refuse to accept the peace process and those who renege on it are being faced with the wrath of the state’s ‘Operation Hadarin Daji’.
“We must not forget the successes recorded in the last few months including the rescue of 12 abducted persons, which included the District Head of Wuya, the killing of nine bandits and arrest of 12 others.
“It also included the recovery of 67 rustled cattle in separate operations held in Gidan Usman, Gidan Baba Goji, Gadauna, Gidan Janari, Kekuwaje, Gidan Sarki, Gardi and Bingi, all in Bungudu Local Government Area of the state.”
Bappa also explained that with the support of the state government, the onslaught against bandits had led to the killing of 27 bandits around the state’s boundary with Katsina State and destruction of their homes at Nahuta-Doumborou.
The special adviser added that another 135 bandits were neutralised between Zamfara and Katsina states.
“Moreover, a large number of bandits were killed in an air raid on Tungar-Duba road, where six kidnapped persons were rescued from the fleeing bandits, while over 200 bandits in Zurmi council area were also neutralised recently.
“The governor, who is under oath to protect the lives and property of the people of the state, will not relent until peace is fully achieved in Zamfara State,” he said.
Newsmen report that the governor had, of recent, come under heavy criticisms by some groups and individuals for his seeming inaction over the rising cases of armed banditry, kidnapping and rape in the state.