SEVEN serving soldiers with the Nigerian Army are among a group of criminals recently arrested by the Zamfara State Police Command for being deeply involved in banditry activities.
Of late, Zamfara State has become the epicentre of banditry in Nigeria as the total lack of opportunities or any form of commercial presence has left its youth with nothing but crime as a means of survival. Not only do bandits raids villages but they now regularly abduct school pupils, demanding a ransom for their release.
Over the last few weeks, however, the Zamfara State government and the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) have entered into dialogue with the bandits, offering them an amnesty and the offer of retraining of they down their weapons. It appears that as part of a peace deal, the identities of these soldiers have been revealed and they have been fingered as the ones supplying bandits with logistics and information.
Ibrahim Dosara, the Zamfara State information commissioner, said that the police command informed the government that the seven serving military men have been sabotaging the peace accord and reconciliation programme. He added that the information from the police revealed that the logistics’ suppliers have already been interrogated and many of the suspects have made confessional statements on their respective crimes.
Mr Dosara said: “The suspects have since been handed over to their appropriate security authorities for further necessary actions. We feel obliged not to disclose their identities as the security agencies concerned are on top of the issue.”
He explained that one of the suspects was caught in possession of 20 rounds of 62mm live ammunition at a point of handling over to the buyer, one Kabiru Bashiru of Maniya village, a suspected active bandit, having received advance payment of N100,000. Mr Dosara added: “The second suspect from Sokoto State was caught by detectives supplying military uniforms and kits to suspected bandits.
“Nine military bulletproof vests, four sets of military camouflage uniforms, five pairs of military hand globes, two First Bank ATM cards, One Nigerian Army identity card and one Samsung Android handset. In a similar effort, on 1st of April, 2021, a team of police men attached to the Serious Crime Unit, while acting on intelligence and credibly information intercepted two suspects from Zurmi and Shinkafi Local Government Areas of the state allegedly supplying bandits with ammunitions and military camouflage from Lagos.”
He added that on March 31, another team of policemen on patrol along the Wanke-Dansadau Road arrested another suspect from the Rukuja area of Musawa Local Government Area of Katsina State. During the course of interrogation, the suspect was discovered to be from one of the hideouts in the Dansandau Forest and while searching through his handset, the suspect’s picture was discovered with him holding AK47 rifle and other sophisticated weapons.
According to the commissioner, the fifth suspect from Kamarwa village of Sokoto State, who is a medical doctor was arrested by operation Puff Adder policemen for supplying military kits to suspected bandits within Shinkafi axis. On April 4, another suspect was caught by a team of police men attached to Counter Terrorism Unit, Gusau in possession of two locally made guns, 12 live cartridges, a bunch of charms and cash amounting to N523,000.