Governor of Zamfara state, Bello Matawalle says some bandits causing havoc across states in the country, deserve the sympathy of citizens because many of them did not set out to go into armed criminality.
Matawalle, whose state has been inundated by violent attacks linked to armed bandits in recent years, said some of the attackers were radicalised by the Nigerian Army and local vigilante groups.
“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.
“Some of them are living in settlements close to villages or towns. 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 said while briefing reporters at the State House on Thursday morning.
The governor’s comments come as bandits successfully attacked Kagara, a community in Niger State, seizing many students of a government college.
The Zamfara governor also said efforts should be intensified to negotiate the armed bandits out of their criminal endeavours.