Bandit gang leader, releases 52 captives after ‘backdoor’ talks - Report



Bello Turji, a gang leader of bandits terrorizing northwest region of Nigeria has released 52 persons from his captivity.

The captive’s release was following a backdoor talk between the bandits and emissaries of Zamfara State Government, source familiar with the matter told Daily Trust Newspaper.

It was reported earlier how the government’s emissaries visited Turji's enclave to reopen talks after the gang leader reportedly rebuffed earlier entreaties with Shinkafi community.

Other areas the group are terrorizing is Sabon Birni of the state and Isa Local Government of Sokoto.

The paper gathered that the released victims are mostly women.

They were kidnapped along Shinkafi – Isa, Isa – Sabon Birni and Kaura Namoda – Shinkafi roads.

'Some of them had spent more than two months in captivity and some were freed after ransoms were paid by their families. Those whose families could not raise the huge ransoms demanded by the armed criminals remained in captivity up to this time when Almighty Allah came to their rescue,' a resident of Shinkafi told the told the paper.

It said released hostages will be transferred to Gusau where they will be debriefed and be reunited with their families.

Other sources said the gang leader might also be under intense pressure following the recent aggressive military operations in the area that precipitated the killing of many of his family members and kinsmen

However, Dr. Murtala Ahmad Rufa'i, a historian at Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, has called on government to be cautious as it engages Turji in dialogue and asked for sincerity and diligence for the success of any non-kinetic operation.

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