Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, a prominent Islamic cleric, has said the increase in banditry, abductions and killing in Kaduna State is as a result of the constant bombardment of the bandits’ camp.
Gumi said this in an interview on Monday.
Kaduna State has witness an upsurge in criminal activities in recent months, particularly the kidnapping of students in tertiary institutions.
However, Gumi stated the bandits had suffered heavy casualties from the military and are determined to retaliate.
He urged the federal and state governments to constitute a committee to open a dialogue with those ready to embrace peace, adding that it was the only way to resolve the crisis in the state.
“It is because the other states are trying to respect the peace (of the bandits), but in Kaduna State, it has been declared that they should be bombed and annihilated,” Gumi told the Punch.
“Whenever the attack is much on them, they will fight back. I am calling on the authorities to pipe down and let’s see how we can get them to reason and stop kidnappings and shedding of innocent blood.”
The cleric asked the government to put the interest of the kidnapped students first and make necessary sacrifice to secure their freedom.
He disclosed that there are different factions of the kidnappers, adding that a particular gang was responsible for the continuous attacks in the state.
According to him, if the government could reach an agreement with the other sects, the gang would be neutralised.
“The lives of the students are more important than any principle; their lives first. So, let’s save them. It is one particular notorious sect that is doing all these and other ones are blaming him (the gang leader),” he said.
In another interview, Gumi stated that the bandits who he negotiated for are no longer into kidnapping, adding that they have repented.
“All those we met, all of them have stopped being involved in this kidnapping. The ones doing it now are rogue ones who we did not sit down with,” he said.
Gumi, however, did not provide evidence to substantiate the claim but questioned the Federal Government for the refusal of the “authorities” to support his mission.
“All those we met, all of them have stopped being involved in this kidnapping. The ones doing it now are rogue ones who we did not sit down with,” Gumi told Roots TV.
According to him, the process of “sitting down with” other bandits was stalled by “authorities” who do not want it.