Bandits have released another batch of 15 people they kidnapped from Katsina State as part of the peace deal with the state government.

The 15 victims have been in the kidnappers’ den located in Dansadau forest in Zamfara, for 44 days.

Those released include 13 women, a one-year-old, and a baby born a day before their release.

Newsmen report that 30 kidnapped victims were earlier released as part of the peace deal.

The state government initiated the peace dialogue with the bandits to end sustained attacks on communities in eight local government areas in the state.

A statement signed by the Director-General on Media, Abdu Labaran, said the victims were handed over to Governor Aminu Masari by the Transition Committee Chairman of Jibia Local Government Area, Haruna Musa, on Sunday afternoon in Katsina.

“The victims claimed to be ill treated by the bandits who fed them with only little, and half cooked and barely corn gruel, twice a day.

“According to the released captives, their captors did not only keep on threatening to kill them for the failure of their relatives to pay ransom demanded by the bandits, but also shot guns in the air consistently with a view to scaring and intimidating them,” he said.

Narrating her ordeal, mother of the day-old-baby, Murja, said that they were kept in a camp which initially contained 150 captives, but gradually shrunk to only 13 of them.

She said that they never believed they would regain freedom as their abductors were always in a nasty mood, threatening to kill them since their relatives have failed to pay for their release.

According to the statement, the governor declared that the 15 victims were the last of those known to be in captivity anywhere.

He said that now that all the kidnapped victims from the state had been released, “the next phase of sustaining the peace in Katsina is the surrender of arms and ammunitions by the bandits, and their rehabilitation and integration.

“The last phase, the governor added, will involve further provision of amenities like schools, clinics, roads, water points for human and animal consumptions, as well as re-demarcation of cattle routes, encroached by some farmers and converted into farmlands.”

The statement added that the government would meet with officials of Zamfara State and their counterparts in the neighbouring state of Maradi in Niger Republic at the weekend to discuss how to sustain the peace process.

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