The Zamfara State Government has disclosed that the killing of a prominent Fulani leader in 2013 is the genesis of the banditry in the state.
The Commissioner for Information, Zamfara State, Honourable Ibrahim Magaji Dosara on Friday, disclosed this in Kaduna while interacting with newsmen.
According to him, ”The genesis of this conflict began with the killing of the most popular and highly respected Fulani leader in all the neighbouring states of Zamfara, Sokoto, and Kebbi, one Alhaji Ishe, of Chilin village in Kuyambana district of Dansadau Emirate in Maru Local Government Area of the state on 11 April 2013.
“Since then, Fulani in the 3 states became aggrieved and aggressive against Hausa communities from where the Yansakai who did the killing emanate,” he said.
The Commissioner added that the crisis began to worsen by the day through waves of attacks.
“With the hostilities between the Fulani and Yansakai, each decided to form a formidable group and structure, the Fulani as bandits and Hausa as Yansakai, leading to the drawing of a battle line between them with increasing waves of attacks and counter-attacks, killing scores of innocent people, destruction of valuables and burning down of houses and foodstuffs.
“To further worsen the situation, the Fulani bandits began to establish camps and started recruiting informants and new members into the banditry even among the Hausa, as well as giving them training and weapons,” he explained.
He noted that, due to untimely attention and necessary intervention, the situation further worsened with attendant consequences of mayhem being unleashed on innocent people across the state.
“Hence, the bandits were able to establish 24 routes network across the 14 local government areas of the state, with two hundred and thirty-two (232) leaders and large followership of four thousand, eight hundred, and twenty-five bandits across the state,” he added.
The governor also disclosed that he opted to negotiate with bandits to stop the killings of innocent residents and the destruction of their properties, stressing that negotiations with bandits have helped in deradicalising some bandits.
He said: “As a result of the dialogue and peace process, over 62 bandits accepted and embraced the peace initiative.
“This is in addition to the release of over 2000 kidnapped victims aided and abetted by the repentant bandits.
“The repentant bandits are also helping in campaigning and convincing those bandits yet to accept the dialogue and reconciliation process to do so.
“They are also helping in the identification of the leaders of the recalcitrant bandits, including their camps and location for dialogue and reconciliation.”