Niger boils again as bandits sack three more communities

Hassan Dantawaye, the commander of bandits who recently renounced violence following peace talks in Zamfara State has granted a no holds barred interview speaking on how they operated. The bandits, who are Fulani herdsmen, had been engaged in killing, kidnapping and other crimes, which they blamed on cattle rustling and harassment by security agencies and local vigilance group. Dantawaye in this interview told MAIHARAJI ALTINE about the peace initiative and some of the atrocities they had committed See excerpts of the interview below... Q: You recently said your people were forced into a life of kidnapping, killing and other crimes because you were unjustly treated by the government and society, how were you treated unjustly? A: Thank you so much for this question. We the Fulani have been facing serious challenges, both from the government and cattle rustlers, some of whom are our own people. I mean some bad eggs among us. Most of them are not even citizens of this country. We were living peacefully about 10 years ago. There was nothing like cattle rustling or kidnapping let alone killings or destruction of innocent people’s properties. The only issue we had then was Fulani herders/farmers clashes and they were always addressed by community leaders of both the farmers and the Fulani.

Barely twenty-four hours after an attack on Kukoki village in Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State, bandits have again sacked three more communities in Rafi Local Government Area on Tuesday evening.

The communities ransacked include Rafin-wayam, Rafin-kwakwa, and Gidan Dogo-Gurgu village.

It was learnt that the heavily armed bandits rode motorcycles numbering about 30, carrying three people each, ransacked the three communities and forced them to run to Kagara the headquarters of Rafi Local Government Area.

An eyewitness, Malam Dahiru, said, the bandits encircled them at Rafin Wayam village and took bread and beverages before they left to Pangu-Gari community.

Dahiru, “As of 6:45pm on Tuesday, an exodus of escapees from the three villages numbering hundreds had open four camps in Kagara.

The Niger State Police Commissioner, Adamu Usman, on Wednesday, confirmed the incident, saying, ‘We have an incident like that in that area’.

Usman said, “The police are reviewing the security architecture of communities in the hinterland because it appears they are prone to this type of security breach.”

He assured that the bandits would be apprehended and brought to book soon.