Ahmad Gumi, popular Islamic scholar, has disclosed that bandits’ leader whose group abducted students of the Federal College of Forestry Mechanization, Kaduna, has refused to attend meetings because of President Muhammadu Buhari’s shoot-on-sight order.
Buhari had earlier in the month, asked security operatives to gun down unauthorized persons carrying AK-47 in the forests.
The cleric, while speaking with Daily Trust on Thursday, said some of the bandits he met in the forest during his peace meetings have assisted in identifying the leader of the gang responsible for the abduction of the students.
“If we had encouragement, we would have met all the leaders. All those we met usually offered to support us to negotiate on our behalf, just like what happened in Niger State”, he stated.
“Presently, our ability has reached the extent that we can identify who is involved in any criminal act. We have identified the leader of those who took the students but he has never attended any peace meeting with us.
“Those groups we met identified him but we could not reach out to him because of the security implication since the government gave shoot-on-sight order and then the government said no negotiation. So, I don’t want us to go into the bush and the government will think we are encouraging them”.
When asked what is needed to be done to secure the release of the students, Gumi stated:
“What I think is for the government to just relax and allow us to follow these people to teach them how to behave, admonish them and then negotiate so that they stop this thing. We are doing this for ourselves not for the government or any political party.
“We don’t want politicians to mess up our land because they will come and go while we remain here, God willing. So we are not doing it for political reasons, we are doing it for ourselves so that we stop killing each other”.
He noted that he cannot change the stance of the Kaduna State Government not to negotiate with the criminals.
“I cannot change the state government stand on negotiation and ransom payment. All I want from them is to allow us to continue discussion with the bandits,” he further stated.
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