Bandits have started regrouping and gaining ground in the North-West and North Central following the respective governors’ gross incompetence and incapability, SaharaReporters can report.
Following inquiries about the resurgence of attacks in Sokoto, Zamfara, Kebbi, Kaduna, Katsina, Niger, and Plateau states, a senior military officer who recently retired from service confirmed to SaharaReporters that had started regrouping and gaining ground in the regions.
Meanwhile, all the states mentioned have new governors. Former governors of Plateau and Sokoto, Simon Lalong and Aminu Waziri Tambuwal failed to get their governorship candidates to win, while Bello Muhammad Matawalle of Zamfara lost his reelection bid.
The other former governors finishing their second term secured their states for their anointed candidates.
Security officers who spoke on condition of anonymity were actively involved in operations in both zones.
One of the sources said that the inter-state architecture and collaboration put in place by the immediate past governors for eight years with the military, police, Department of State Services (DSS) and other agencies was no longer active.
“I was among the experts assembled to assess the factors responsible for the renewed attacks and solutions in the North West and North Central. The frightening discovery was due to the new governors’ ignorance and incompetence.
“The problems are incomprehensible to them, and there is no tangible evidence to observe and observe. As of May 2023, notorious bandits like Dogo Gide, Karami, Turji, Ali Kachala and Boderi were running around for cover and denied freedom of action. They also lost many foot soldiers.
“Regrettably, the tide reversed and a few of them quietly began talking and paying bandits behind, interrupting operations. And now, the bandits have resumed killings, kidnappings, cattle rustling, and looting because they have acquired more weapons.
“If bandits are asking for negotiation, they are definitely losing ground and it’s a tactic to buy time. But they will never stop kidnapping for ransom because of the proceeds which run into millions of naira.
“They are always blaming the military and police after attacks, forgetting that this is asymmetric warfare. What can we do? Did they carry on with the system they met on the ground?”
Another security source recalled that actionable intelligence was actively sought from locals before the former governors left office but regretted that it was no longer the case.
The source said, “There was a system where actionable intelligence was actively sourced from locals and relayed to the military and police, aside from what comes from the DSS which gives us an edge ahead of the terrorists and other things I will not mention. Currently, none of these things are working.
“They are busy travelling and shouting investments. Who will invest in Sokoto, Zamfara, Kebbi, Katsina, Kaduna, Niger, and Plateau? Listening to them talk about recruiting vigilantes is laughable. Can vigilantes confront these terrorists and bandits?
“Anyway, we will submit our recommendations, but as I said, they must reactivate what was working and stop this demonstration of insensitivity. It is necessary for them to wake up from their slumber.”
Bandits have been carrying out heinous attacks since the new governors assumed leadership in these zones.
In July, bandits killed over 45 villagers in Raka, Raka Dutse and Filingawa in the Tangaza local government area of Sokoto state aside from rustling cattle and looting shops.
On Wednesday, bandits killed four persons and kidnapped over 30 villagers in Giyawa village of Goronyo local government area in the same Sokoto State. Other local government areas affected are Sabon Birni, Gwadabawa, and Ilela.
In Niger State, over 20 troops comprising officers and men were killed in August and in Zamfara, the bandits have continued to carry out kidnappings and killings in Maru, Maradun, Gusau, Shinkafi, Bungudu, Zurmi and Anka areas.
The situation is similar in Kaduna where dozens have been killed and kidnapped in Birnin Gwari, Chikun, Giwa, Kachia, Kagarko, Zangon Kataf and Kajuru local government areas.
New front of attacks have also been recorded in Bauchi and Kano states and parts of the Federal Capital Territory.