Sheikh Gumi: Bandits plotting to acquire anti-aircraft missiles
Popular Islamic cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi says bandits in the north are plotting to procure anti-aircraft missiles to confront the nation’s military.
He said that they were planning this with the proceeds of kidnapping.
However, the cleric pointed out that the bandits were not being sponsored by politicians and did not have foreign collaborators.
Recall that Sheikh Gumi recently went into the forests in Zamfara State to meet with the leaders of bandits and prevail on them to sheath their swords.
He subsequently revealed that what was previously termed banditry in the state was nothing short of insurgency.
The popular cleric therefore called on the government to grant the bandits amnesty.
Speaking with Saturday Punch, the cleric stressed that the bandits took up arms to avenge their brothers killed by cattle rustlers and military airstrikes.
Sheikh Gumi reiterated the need for government to meet with the bandits immediately in order to stop them being radicalised by religious fanatics like Boko Haram terrorists.
If this were allowed to happen, he said, it might be “difficult to control”.
“These people were the first victims of cattle rustling, who lost all their cattle to rustlers because then, the rustlers were having the guns. Then when they lost their cattle, they joined (the rustlers) and they started to kidnap people.
“In fact, most of the kidnappings, they (the bandits) are doing it to acquire weapons. They are now trying to buy missiles, anti-aircraft missiles. This is already developing into a full-blown insurgency and we should stop that. And what we are afraid of is that if they become religiously radicalised, it will give rise to another dimension, and it will be very difficult to control. You see what Boko Haram has become,” Sheikh Gumi said.