Sheik Gumi challenges military to provide evidence of killing 2 Zamfara bandit kingpins

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Controversial Islamic cleric, Sheik Ahmad Gumi says the military must back up with evidence its claim that it bombarded and killed two notorious bandit leaders in a Zamfara forest last week.

Gumi spoke through his media consultant, Tukur Mamu, in an interaction with journalists in Kaduna on Tuesday.

According to him, most raids by the military on bandit locations cost innocent lives.

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Gumi said that when he led a delegation to meet with bandits in a forest in Niger State, they should him a whole settlement of innocent people that had no links with bandits but was bombarded all the same.

The controversial cleric insisted that dialogue remained the lasting solution to the menace of banditry.

“The simple question is that we should ask ourselves from these reports that they are saying that they’ve bombarded this camp and that camp, is there any evidence on the ground?

“There is a particular forest we visited in Niger State. The whole of the settlement had been bombarded. This settlement has nothing to do with bandits. In fact, they showed us two wells full of innocent people, dead, casualties of these bombardments.

“That’s exactly what these bandits were telling us. They said whenever we hear the sound of an aircraft, we run to our caves and then run. If they will succeed in killing anybody, it is the small children, the wives or the cows.

“That’s their own testimony. So, you can imagine a country where, for example, bandits would gather in a forest and be celebrating. You don’t even have the intelligence to track them and eliminate them. Then, you say you will succeed in killing them.

“I hear them yesterday celebrating the reported death of bandit leader. So, for example, if you kill one bandit leader and another one emerges, what benefit did you derive?

“For example, you killed Dogo Gide, a person more dreaded than him emerged. When they killed Buharin Daji, Turji emerged. So, what’s the success there? And for us to even be celebrating. There is nothing to celebrate, the only thing we can celebrate is that if our military succeeds in crushing them all and they cannot,” Gumi said.

He said dialogue remained the only solution to banditry, recalling that late President Umaru Yar’Adua was able to restore peace to oil-rich Niger Delta through dialogue.

“You have to address so many economic issues and so many issues of injustice. And then for you to pursue the path of dialogue. It is not a sign of weakness. That’s what Yar’Adua initiated in Niger Delta.

“Do you think the silence we used to hear now from Niger Delta is because of guns? Is it because of military might? There are many top militant commanders that have been on the payroll of the Federal Government for the past eight years. They are the richest now, top militants, commanders.

“But this is a silent issue that nobody knows. But that is the reason why you can explore oil and then exploit it. The only reason why their own is different is because the Federal Government knows that if they didn’t do something there, it will affect the whole economy. That’s the issue,” Gumi stated.

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