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Nigerian Army Reacts to Video of Soldiers Assisting Transit of Bandits

Public Service or Illegal Collaboration?

Video: Bandits passings/Relocating to another place. In the presence of securities civilians carrying AK-47. The voice in the video sending message to tell people that the Fulani are coming to pass. The people of the community should not say anything.

By TruthNigeria Staff

[Kaduna]- A trending video in the social media showing scores of rag-tag, armed Fulani bandits paired on stationery motor bikes waiting to take off at an unnamed community, with well-kitted soldiers mingling among them as a Nigerian soldier arranged their safe passage by phone, stirred anger in Nigeria last week prompting the Nigeria military to make a response Sept. 18.

The anonymous video, believed to have been shot in Katsina State – one of Nigeria’s Sahelian states heavily ravaged by armed Fulani bandits – shows well-kitted Nigeria Soldiers with rifles slung over their shoulders leisurely strolling among the bandits and several unarmed persons, too.

A soldier in uniform can be seen and heard audibly speaking to someone, ostensibly, a fellow soldier at another end, on the need to allow the armed bandits to move unhindered when they arrive his end. He spoke in Hausa. The interpretation in English reads:

“Hello, Sanusi!”

“Can you hear me? . . .

“I want you for the sake of Allah (God)!

“Come to the major road and inform the public that for the sake of Allah, Fulani are on en-route to that way.

“Nobody has any business with them.

“They have been spoken to just now. So, they are just going to pass through. Do you understand?

“Go through all sides of the roads and inform the public that no one should say a word. They are just coming to pass, that’s all. Please take my instruction. For the sake of Allah, see them on their way now.

“For Allah’s sake! Please ensure that you inform the public. Yes!”

An anonymous twitter user, @PIDOMNIGERIA, in a tweet on his verified twitter handle on 18th September, 2023 revealed that a meeting had taken place between the bandits and natives at Fakama community in Faskari County [Local Government Area] of Katsina State.

The tweet did not indicate when, or who attended the meeting. It did not also reveal the outcome of the meeting. But it affirmed, as well as captured in the pictures, that Nigerian soldiers and police were participants.

@PIDOMNIGERIA, who goes by the anonymous name 99% OPPRESSED, is an investigative journalist with a large social media following.

“Fulani terrorists arriving at a community school in Fankama community on motorbikes and AK47rifles, in Faskari Local government area of Katsina State. For peace talks and settlement terms with the said community, so they won’t attack them again, or Kidnap them. Nigerian Army @HQNigerianArmy and Nigerian police @PoliceNG were present as witnesses,” reads the tweet.

Judging by the vegetation of the area, the likely location of the venue is Dandume County in Katsina State near the border with Kaduna State. A further analysis of the Hausa language was spoken by the caller suggested, it was spoken by Katsinawas or Katsina people.

The clothes worn by the bike riders identifies them as bandits and not local vigilantes. Moreover, Fulani bandits normally ride on a bike in threes as seen in the video,” according to the source. “In addition, vigilantes carry locally-made guns, whereas bandits arm themselves with AK 47s.”

According to the confidential analyst, there was a possible negotiation which resulted in the military guaranteeing the safety of the bandits out one of the town.

“Since the bandits are on their way out the area, the closest safe haven for them would be the forest in Birnin Gwari which is less than one hour’s drive or about 40 kms,” according to the source. The bandits could also be on their way to Zamfara state’s eastern forests, also a safe haven for them.

State government and the military have collaborated with bandits for years to allow the outlaws to move from one area to another with the promise that they won’t be shot at. Such arrangements were made for warlords Bello Turji and Dan Karanma who were given free passage to move from Shinkafi to Tsafe and to forests in Niger State, according to the confidential informant.

The fact that the video began circulating approximately 8 days ago means it likely was recorded between Sept. 9 and Sept. 11.The video likely was made by a soldier since most civilians would not be allowed near the scene.

In reaction to the viral video, the Nigeria Defence Headquarters Sept. 17 issued a statement saying it was investigating the curious looking video. A statement signed by Brig. Gen. Tukur Gusau issued on the Facebook page of the Defence Headquarters reads:

“The attention of the Defence Headquarters was drawn to a video clip in circulation across the social media handles of some soldiers engaging with bandits somewhere in Katsina State.

“The DHQ is investigating the video to confirm its authenticity as regards the soldiers seen in uniform.

“The DHQ is aware of the resolve of some bandits to repent and hand over their weapons to the authority. This is yielding good results and is ongoing.

“The Chief of Defence Staff, General Christopher Gwabin Musa assures Nigerians that the AFN (Armed Forces of Nigeria) will engage in every lawful means possible to ensure peace and stability reign in our dear nation.

The Nigerian army statement suggests that the military is taking a benign approach to resolving conflict with the bandits, who frequently cause horrific casualties.

“The DHQ assures Nigerians that it’s non-kinetic measures aimed at restoration of peace is yielding results, with several bandits and other criminal elements surrendering to authority.

“Governments at all levels are encouraged to allow bandits genuinely willing to surrender to do so while the window is still open.

But the fact is, bandits and allied terrorist groups in Nigeria have caused thousands of deaths and wanton destruction of communities, especially in the Northwest and the Middle Belt of Nigeria.

Vanguardngr.com reported that 98,083 killed in past 12 years by organized violent groups in Africa’s most populous country.

At least 35,800 killed between 2019 and May 2023 the report says

https://www.vanguardngr.com/2023/05/insecurity-63111-persons-killed-in-buharis-eight-years/

The military has collaborated with bandit leaders such Bello Turji and Muhammad Bello Khaliel in Zamfara, according to an informed source speaking to TruthNigeria on background only.

Nigerian authorities have held negotiations with bandit leaders their forest redoubts in order to negotiate hostage releases or amnesties for bandits seeking to quit their criminal businesses.

In February 2021 when Sheik Ahmad Abubakar Gumi visited Bello Turji at his hideouts in Zamfara, the bandit warlord accused the Deputy Director of the Directorate of State Security Services( DSS) of reneging on a deal for him to go out and confiscate guns from some bandits.

“After doing my part by collecting the guns and handing them over to you, you reneged on your promise and today, as we talk, I Turji do not have up to N50,000 in my account,” the bandit leader reportedly said according to the confidential source.

“However, I will do the needful by going to Shinkafi Local Government Headquarters and kidnap people so that I will be compensated,” Turji said to the military,

In 2021 Nigerian soldiers, intelligence officers, and mediators visited bandits’ camps to negotiate buybacks of heavy weapons and munitions, including anti-aircraft guns, according to The Wall Street Journal. The army was glad to buy back an anti-aircraft gun from the bandits to prevent them from shooting down President Muhammadu Buhari’s aircraft. https://gazettengr.com/nigerian-air-force-pays-bandits-n20-million-to-avoid-shooting-down-buharis-plane/

The viral video has sent some readers into fury with some wondering because the Nigerian Army should be seen collaborating with terrorists.

This video generated reaction including calls that Nigeria is a failed state.

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