#Insecurity: Nothing Like Repentant Bandits – El Rufai

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ABUJA—THE Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai has said that there is nothing like repentant bandits and that the state believes in dispatching the terrorists attacking innocent people to their creator.

Governor el-Rufai stated this on Tuesday while briefing State House correspondents after he met with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The Governor said he was at the State House along with the State Commissioner for Internal Security, Samuel Aruwan to brief the President on the recent attack by terrorists (bandits) on Kauran Fawa, Marke and Ruhiya of Idasu Ward of Giwa Local Government Area, Kaduna State that claimed the lives of about 40 persons.

He said that the whereabouts of the bandits are not hidden but that the military was mindful of the collateral damage it could cause the civilian community.

He said if the security forces cannot go to the bandits’ location, the state was helpless.

The governor said he asked for the intervention of the President for more deployment of security forces and a comprehensive operation.

He urged the security forces to carry out aggressive operations against the bandits.

The governor lamented his government’s helplessness over the inability of security forces to reach the location of bandits terrorizing citizens.

On whether there is not intelligence to go ahead of the bandits, he said: “Yes, we receive security reports, we know a lot about the bandits and where they are and their activities.

“But you must understand that the intelligence has to be acted upon. And if the security forces are unwilling or unable to reach the locations where these bandits are, then there is nothing we can do as a state government.

“Federal security forces are not under our direct control. We support them, we work with them, the intelligence is being provided, but the truth of the matter is that our military and police are very few in number and they are overstretched.”

El-Rufai noted that whereas the security forces are doing their best but their efforts are not enough.

He added: “So, you have to understand the limitations that they face before you conclude that they are not doing enough. They are doing a lot. But is it enough? Certainly not. Much more needs to be done.

“But can they do more with the number of policemen they have and the number of soldiers? I don’t know. We need to ramp up recruitment in the Nigerian Police, we need to ramp up recruitment in the Nigerian armed forces.

“We have too few number and our armed forces are overstretched. They are operating in several states, about 32, 33 states the last time we checked, and how many are they?

“So, we must understand the constraint that they face and sympathized with them.

“But with the acquisition of more advance equipment from Jordan, China, Turkey and the United States, we expect that the kinetic capabilities of our armed forces will be greatly improved.

“So, we hope to see the end of this insecurity.”

The governor also lamented that care has to be taken in dealing with bandits to avoid collateral damage to innocent civilians.

According to him, “there was a problem. Even if you know where the bandits are, you don’t want to go and bomb all of them because they may have civilians in custody. You may have collateral damage that you may not want right handle. And without the declaration of bandits as terrorists, it might even be referred to as abuse of their human rights.”

He said the recent declaration by the Federal High Court as terrorists opens the way to fight them without limits.

“So, no one will be dragged to the international court because you killed bandits. No,” he said.

The governor maintained that Kaduna state will not negotiate with bandits as its policy is to kill them all.

On the nomenclature of the criminals, he explained: “They are bandits. If you want to call them terrorists you can call them terrorists, but we don’t want to confuse them with terrorists that we know, the Boko Haram. IPOB has been declared terrorists. We don’t call them terrorists, we call them IPOB. The nomenclature doesn’t matter.

“What matters is that they are now fair game for armed forces

On his position of repentant bandits, the governor said, “there is nothing like repentant terrorists (bandits). The only repentant bandit is the one that is dead. Our intention in the state is to kill them (bandits/terrorists), let them go and see God.”

He also explained that there are three types of terrorists, the Boko Haram elements, the bandits, and the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, adding that the recent declaration of bandits as terrorists by the court has given the military more power to wage war against them.

“What I’m saying is, we call them bandits to differentiate them from the rest but they are terrorists. You can choose any name you want to give them but as a government, I have to call them by a name that everyone understands. They have been declared terrorists, but they have to have a name that everyone can understand and not confuse them with Boko Haram.”

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