Zamfara State Governor Bello Matawallen has said that he would not abandon the ongoing dialogue with bandits to attain peace in the state. The governor made the assertion as he secured the release of abducted 26 minors from Katsina State, ages between eight and 12 years, without payment of ransom.
In a statement by Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Communication, Zailani Bappa, yesterday, the governor said: “The girls who were kidnapped by bandits in Faskari Local Council of Katsina State were brought into the state by the bandits.
“Later, the government discovered their presence and got them released through negotiations held with the state Commissioner for Security and Home Affairs, Alhaji Abubakar Dauran.
“Dauran is constantly in dialogue with the bandits on behalf of the state government because of the need for the bandits to embrace peace and live a normal life,” the statement stressed.
Matawalle, who received the rescued girls, said that his administration would not abandon the peace dialogue with bandits, as fire-power alone cannot solve the problem of banditry in the state.
He said: “This is a testimony to our vision for engaging the bandits in peace dialogue. For those who believe we are wrong to dialogue with the bandits, the securing of these minors who are all girls, unhurt, is indeed, priceless.”
The rescued girls were medically checked and provided with new clothes, as the governor ordered their safe return to Katsina State. This latest rescue brings the total number of those released by bandits in the last one week to more than 40.