21st February, 2021
By Muhaimin Olowoporoku
Islamic cleric, Sheikh Gumi who has been holding peace talks with bandits has shared some of the conditions the bandits want to be met before releasing the abducted Kagara students.
The popular northern sheikh in an interview with Punch newspaper, notes that the negotiation does not involve payment of ransom.
According to Gumi, the bandits are asking mainly for the release of their comrades in the custody of security agencies.
“They have just four people in detention, and they are asking for them. They also need assurance and that is why we are calling for amnesty for them. They have been fighting for a long time; it’s been more than eight years, Gumi said.
“These people are fighting for their existence because when they go to town they are lynched when the police see them on the road, they arrest them; sometimes they are executed extrajudicially, so they took arms against the state. When you give them amnesty, all of them will drop their weapons.”
The Muslim cleric also said that the abducted students are likely to be released on Sunday, with ongoing talks between these bandits and the government. He said the release is slowed down owing to logistics.
“What I hear from (our contact) is that they are still negotiating to release them (schoolchildren and staff members) and hopefully, hopefully, we will get them tomorrow (Sunday), hopefully, he said.
“Up till now, they have not been able to identify the boys, who (did the kidnapping). You know they are splinter groups. So, when you are dealing with groups like that in a vast area, with no communication, no road, then it has to be slow. But the main actors are ready to negotiate and stop the kidnapping altogether.”