By Usman Shuaibu
Bandits holed up in the expansive Ruga forest have released 10 women and a baby to Katsina State government Tuesday evening, bringing to 16, the total number of kidnap victims who have so far regained their freedom from their abductors.
The ten women and the baby, who looked very haggard, jaded, sickly and hungry, were brought to the office of Governor Aminu Bello Masari, the architect of the conversation with the bandits, by two representatives of the outlaws around 5.30 pm, a statement by Abdu Labaran Malumfashi,DG Media to the governor said.
The successful exchange of detainees between the government and the bandits, represents a fundamental milestone in the efforts by Governor Masari, and his colleagues from the North West, notably Governors Aminu Waziri Tambuwal of Sokoto state and Muhammed Bello Matawalle of Zamfara, to bring to a permanent end the menace of banditry, kidnapping and cattle rusting, all of which have of late assumed a frightening dimension in Katsina, Zamfara and Sokoto states.
The release of the 10 women and the baby, the second time in the day, has also demonstrated the sincerity of purpose by the two sides of the engagement, thus giving short thrift to the skeptics didn’t believe that the arrangement would work.
Elated Governor Masari reaffirmed the commitment of the Katsina State government to walk its talk vis-a-vis the negotiations with the bandits, urging the outlaws to also keep faith with their own part of the bargain.
According to the Governor, as soon as the exchange of detainees is done with, the 2nd and 3rd faces of the engagement will commence and focus on the voluntary surrender and return of arms and ammunitions to the government by the repentant bandits.
The released victims, who are all but two, from Shifida village in Jibiya Local government, include Sa’adatu Garba, Dije Abdulmini, Dahara A. Garba, Salame Abu Musa, Rabi’atu Muazu, Shamsiyya Sabi’u from Fafara, Halima Hambali, Barira Adamu from Garin Mai muya, Manya A. Sani and Maryam Sani.