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Renowned Islamic cleric, Ahmed Mahmoud Gumi has pleaded that northeast states need to extend the olive branch to stop the problem of banditry plaguing the region.
Gumi had on Wednesday sued for peace as he met with over 500 bandits in Zamfara State and urged them to drop their arms.
The meeting with weapons wielding bandits terrorising Shinkafi Local Government Area of the state was a continuation of Gumi’s peace seeking efforts to tackle the insurgency in the northeast.
Gumi had also in January held peace meetings with about 500 bandits in Kidandan, Giwa Local Government Area, Kaduna State.
Gumi commenting on the peace meeting when he met Zamfara State Governor, Bello Matawalle on Thursday said the bandits have become insurgents having been victims of attacks and harassment from the vigilante group known as the Yansakai.
He urged the government at all levels to reconcile with the militants, saying dialogue are the only way to end the crisis.
” “In most of the bandits and Fulani camps we have visited in Zamfara, I come to understand that, what is happening in the state is nothing but an insurgency.”
“Some people think it is necessary to fight these gunmen and then kill them, but I understand that most of them are uneducated. They need to be educated,” he said.
Matawalle had been supportive of Gumi’s method of extending the olive branch to the bandits.
After Gumi’s peace seeking efforts with bandits in Kidandan, Giwa Local Government Area, Kaduna State, Matawalle urged clerics in Zamfara to follow the footsteps of Kaduna-based Islamic cleric, Ahmad Mahmud Gumi by holding peace talks with bandits terrorising the territory and telling them to surrender their arms.
Matawalle has been vocal about how exploring a carrot approach will help the northeast solve the problem of banditry.