The government of Zamfara, a state in northwest Nigeria, has received eight victims of kidnapping from armed groups terrorising the region.
This was announced to newsmen on Friday by AbdulMalik Saidu Maibiredi, Media Assistant to the governor.
The eight former kidnapees are male residents of Maru and Bungudu, and were received from the Dansadu Forest by the commissioner for security, Abubakar Justice Dauran, who said the government would continue to pursue peaceful initiatives in finding solutions to insecurity in the state. The commissioner is reputed to have means of communicating directly with some of the armed groups.
The victims thanked the government for securing their freedom from the dreaded criminals.
Abductions have been frequent in the state for many years. Last June, 25 people were kidnapped in Bindin, a community in Maru Local Government Area, after which ransoms were demanded as a condition for their release. In September, over 40 farmers were kidnapped in Gobirawan Cali, another community in the same Local Government Area.
“They came in a large number, entered our community and shot repeatedly, chasing people. We were running for safety. The community is now deserted. We all ran away in hundreds. They took us by surprise,” one villager told BBC Hausa.
“They, thereafter, came into our communities in large numbers and shot repeatedly. We ran away but they abducted over 40 villagers. Some managed to escape. We could not call the security agents because there was no network. Our community is now empty, we are not going back unless the government provides us with security.”
The governor, Bello Mohammed Matawalle, said in July that he had no regrets negotiating with kidnappers, as not doing so would spell doom for the victims.
“It is the best option to a lasting peace. Reconciliation with the bandits is still the best option,” the state government said in a statement signed by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Media, Alhaji Zailani Baffa.
“Matawalle applied the peace accord as a means of honest solution to the of constant banditry and kidnappings problems in Zamfara State and the peace accord has yielded tremendous results that have never been experienced in the last one year,” he added.
Do not miss any update from the HumAngle team. Click on our WhatsApp button below to subscribe to our up to date breaking news and in-depth journalism.