The Chief of the Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, has said the pressure mounted by the troops on bandits and criminals in the North-West geopolitical zone has forced them to embrace the dialogue option initiated by the Zamfara State Government.
The army chief, however, said the “dialogue option must be comprehensive and there must be disarmament.”
He added that the army had pledged its “support to the Zamfara State Government which is already in dialogue with the bandits.”
Buratai stated this on Wednesday evening when the Zamfara State Governor, Bello Matawalle, visited him at the army headquarters in Abuja.
Buratai said, “We are quite interested in the security situation in Zamfara State and more so the democratic process that is managed by the governor.
“We are 100 per cent in support of whatever the civil administration decides towards bringing about peace and security in our country. We have remained apolitical and indeed the military is an instrument of the state.
“Just about two days ago, the combined troops of the military including the police and the state services went from Zamfara into Katsina State to flush out these bandits and many of them were either neutralised or captured while some others fled their camps.
“This is one of the pressures that the army had put on the criminals that have forced them to look for the dialogue option. In this regard, I want to say that the dialogue option must be comprehensive; there must be disarmament which is quite fundamental and also the issue of release of captives, which you have started.
“We will support you to ensure that there is complete disarmament and equally the concept of deradicalisation and other political process which I believe the government will take note of and see how it can implement not only in Zamfara State but across the states that are facing this banditry especially Sokoto, Katsina, Kaduna and Niger states.”
Earlier, the governor said the bandits’ activities in Zamfara State had reduced, adding that the effort of the military made the bandits to opt for dialogue.
He said, “The bandits told us that they would not have embraced peace if the army was not giving them too much trouble. So, we agreed that the army should reduce attack on them so that they can come out.
“We have secured the release of over 120 captives including foreign nationals and arrangement is on the ground to release another 25 captives including women and children.”
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