By Moradeke Kasali
President General Muhammadu Buhari has warned against reprisal attacks by warring factions in Katsina, where the President comes from.
Buhari gave the warning following reprisal attacks that left scores dead at the weekend. There were speculations that the bloody feud is between Fulani and Hausa farmers, Irohinoodua was informed on Monday.
While reacting to the latest round of attacks on farmers by bandits in Dankar and Tsuawa villages in the Batsari Local Government Area of Katsina State has opposed what he calls “revenge killings” either carried out by farmers against bandits or bandits against farmers
He said if bandits attack a community and they are caught, they should not be killed, they should be handed over to law enforcement agencies instead.
The President argued that doing so would prevent another round of reprisals by bandits against the affected communities.
Scores of people were killed on Friday night in the villages in two separate incidents.
The President, who condemned the attacks, noted that killing people in the name of revenge was not acceptable.
A State House statement by his media aide, Mr Garba Shehu, monitored by irohinoodua on Sunday said Buhari warned that “no one in the country has a right to take the law into his own hands by the way of self-help or revenge.
“Local communities that catch bandits should hand over the suspects to law enforcement authorities instead of meting out capital punishment, leading to a cycle of revenge and counter revenge.”
The President however called on community leaders and local authorities to intensify their partnership with law enforcement agencies that led to the surrender of bandits.
He added that such efforts had led to peaceful co-existence between farmers and herders.
However, he sympathised with the families that lost loved ones in the attacks. He also prayed for those who died.
Recall that the Governor Aminu Masari of the state had in a peace deal with bandits last year, this made many bandits to submit their firearms to authority and embraced amnesty
The governors of neighbouring states also copied the Masari example, leading to claims that banditry had dropped in the affected states, especially Katsina.
But the attacks resurfaced again in January this year, thereby leading to the killing of people in some local government areas of the state. The governor however said the peace deal is still intact
Meanwhile, some residents of Tsauwa have revealed that following the attack, some have fled the town for Batsari and Katsina to seek temporary refuge with their relatives.
However, calm on Sunday returned to Tsauwa and Dankar villagesin Tsauwa.
Furthermore, Masari on Sunday also cautioned residents of the state against taking the law into their own hands in the current efforts to tackle banditry in the state.
Security sources in Katsina said the Nigerian Air Force had already commenced aerial attacks on the bandits.