Bandits, residents reach peace pact in Niger State

NIGER STATE MAP

Some communities in Niger State have entered a peace pact with bandits that have been terrorising their communities.

The community leader of Kusherki, in Rafi Local Government Area, Garba Kusherki, who made this revelation on Thursday, said a delegation has commenced talks with the bandits.

He said the bandits had earlier called for an agreement with the locals that they would not report them to constituted authorities each time they passed through their communities from the forests to other parts of the state to carry out their nefarious activities.

Kusherki also said that one of the demands from the bandits is that they should buy kola nuts that would be shared among their colleagues and friends to know that a peace pact had been signed with the victim communities.

He added that the bandits promised that peace would return to the communities if their demands are met.

Narrating how the peace pact was reached, kusherki said, “As God would have it, on Thursday, the bandits called us to tell us that they wanted a peace pact sealed. So we sent a delegation that went to meet with them in the forest very close to Birnin Gwari, Kaduna State. Our delegation was asked to stay at Maganda and they came to pick them up.

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“In the end, they told us that we are the cause of the fight between them (bandits) and our communities. They said each time locals see them with cattle crossing their communities, they lay ambush and start attacking them. After all, the rustled cattle don’t belong to the locals and hence they did not see any reason why they should be attacked. So, they said they decided to get revenge.”

The community leader said the bandits promised not to attack his community again, adding that anyone who attacks them would be punished.

“They said after this peace pact, no bandit group will attack our communities again, and that if any group does, they will identify the group and deal decisively with them. But what we have been able to contribute is not up to the amount demanded. So we need support.”

He also said that as part of the peace pact, some people who had been held hostage were released.

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Kusherki said the bandits warned them to stop attacking them and reporting to authorities each time they pass through the community adding that if they feel they want to fight them, they are ready to continue with the fight for the next 10 years.

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