Deeply worried by the spread of arms among bandits in Zamfara State, Governor Bello Mohammed Matawalle said he was taking the option of instructing the security to invite former governor Abdulaziz Yari to explain the whereabouts of about 1000 AK47, he, the former governor allegedly purchased with the state’s funds in 2013.

As the Zamfara government says it is awaiting the release of abducted schoolgirls in Jangebe, Governor Bello Matawalle insists he will not relent in his peace process with bandits despite efforts to stop it.

According to a report, while receiving 17 emirs who paid him a sympathy visit on Sunday, Matawalle revealed that “there are revelations on the abductions.”

Responding to the Emir of Anka and Chairman of Zamfara Council of Chiefs, Attahiru Anka, who said, President Muhammadu Buhari failed in ensuring the safety of lives and properties, Mr. Matawalle suggested he knew those behind the abduction.

He explained, “As we await the arrival of the released kidnapped students of GSSS Jangebe at the Government House today, I want to inform you that there are many revelations in relation to the abduction of these students. Many people will be surprised to hear those people behind the abduction of these innocent children.”

He added, “They are not comfortable with the progress I am getting as a result of my peace initiative, and they want to do all they can to sabotage my efforts. I will, Insha Allah, succeed at the end of the day, and they will bury their faces in shame.”

Earlier on Sunday, he said the state was expecting “the released kidnapped students of GSSS Jangebe at the Government House today (Sunday).”

Later in the evening, a rumour made rounds that the students were released, but the state police command debunked it.

The governor had also told the federal government’s delegation led by the Minister of Aviation Hadi Sirika, that his administration was collaborating with bandits, “using the leaders of the repentant bandits to rescue the schoolgirls from the kidnappers.”

“Very soon, we are going to witness the release of the abductees,” newsmen quoted him to have said.

He said the state “is going to continue with the peace process with bandits, considering its impact in addressing security challenges facing the state.”

Mr. Matawalle alleged that vigilante groups terrorised the bandits, and they, in turn, unleashed their anger on communities by killing and kidnapping residents.

“Not all of them are criminals. If you investigate what is happening and what made them take the laws into their hands, some of them sometimes were cheated by so-called the vigilante group.

“They normally go to their settlements and destroy property and take their animals. They did not have anyone to speak with, so sometimes, they go for revenge. When the vigilante group attacks them, they go for reprisals. That’s exactly what happened,” he said.

According to him, soldiers are also responsible for bandits’ attacks, stating that “when there are military operations, the military will go and destroy their property and animals.”

“They are angry with such actions sometimes. If you are talking to them, you can understand where they are coming from and their problems,” Mr. Matawalle told journalists on Thursday.

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