The notorious bandits’ leader, Bello Turji has reacted to the recent aerial bombardment of his residence in Zamfara state by the military, saying he felt betrayed by the action of the Nigerian government.
Recall that the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) carried out an air raid upon receiving credible intelligence at Fakai area of Shinkafi, following which some armed bandits from Turji’s camp were neutralised.
Some of his fighters and relatives were said to have been killed in the air raid.
The terrorists were attending a wedding ceremony, with Turji and his camp in attendance, when the venue was raided.
He was said to have narrowly escaped the aerial bombardment on his home with injury.
Reacting to the incident, the bandits’ warlord accused the government of breaking the peace pact they had with him in stopping banditry, by protecting the people of Shinkafi axis from any attack.
Speaking on phone with some of his acquaintances, Turji expressed his bitterness over the air raid on his abode and the killing of vulnerable people.
In an audio conversation obtained by PRNigeria, the bandits’ leader said he had agreed with officials of the government and community leaders to abandon banditry.
“There have not been any attacks in the last five months since we reached a truce with the government but now that the military has attacked our home, we feel betrayed especially after the death of vulnerable people in the airstrikes.
“For the past five months, we didn’t attack or kill anyone around Shinkafi. As a result, farming and other business activities were flourishing without any hitches.
“I feel embarrassed when my name is mentioned after attacks by other bandits and terrorists. Apart from my house that they destroyed, many other buildings belonging to innocent citizens in the forest, were also affected.
“Peace is priceless and I am ready to be a peace advocate unless the government wants him to be a warmonger. I am ready for either peace or war. Whatever the government wants, we can give them a multitude.”
Zamfara deputy governor, Hassan Nasiha, recently said Turji had repented and embraced peace overtures by the state government.
He is known to have been responsible for numerous massacres and terrorist attacks against civilians and security forces in the North-West region, especially Zamfara and Sokoto states.
In September 2021, Yan Sakai operatives attacked a mosque in Gwadabawa, killing eleven people.
Turji responded by leading his bandits towards a market in Gonroyo, Sokoto State. The bandits entered the bazaar and opened fire, killing at least 50 to over 60 civilians.
In December 2021, Turji’s forces attacked a bus in Sabon Birni, setting it on fire and burning the passengers inside to death. 30 people died in the ambush.
From 4 to 6 January 2022, over 200 people were killed by terrorists led by Turji in Zamfara State, Nigeria.
Shortly before the attacks, terrorists led a raid on a group of 3,000 cattle only to be confronted by local vigilantes, leading to a gunfight and battle between the two parties.
The outnumbered vigilantes lost and many of them were slain by bandits, and the killings of villagers began.