Zamfara State Governor, Bello Matawalle has said that dialogue with bandits is still relevant just as he secured the release of 26 Katsina girls from bandits.
A statement issued on Sunday, November 8, by Zailani Bappa, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Public Enlightenment, Media and Communications, said the girls, aged between 8 and 12, were released to the Zamfara State Government without payment of ransom.
“The girls who were kidnapped by bandits in Faskari local government area of Katsina state were brought into the bushes of Zamfara state but were miraculously discovered by the state Government and got released through negotiations held under the state Commissioner Of Police and the state Commissioner for Security and Home Affairs who are in constant dialogue on behalf of the Government with bandits in the state on the need to embrace peace and live a normal life,” the statement said.
Governor Matawalle, who received the rescued girls said his administration will not abandon the peace dialogue with bandits as fire power alone cannot solve the problem of banditry in the state.
“This is a testimony to our vision for engaging the bandits in peace dialogue. For those who believe we are wrong to dialogue with the bandits, the securing of these minors who are all girls, unhurt, is indeed, priceless.” he said.
The 26 rescued girls were medically checked and provided with new clothes. Governor Matawalle ordered for their safe return to Katsina state.
This latest rescue brings the total number of those released by bandits in the last one week to more than 40.