Armed ViolenceNews

‘Negotiate With Us Now’: Terrorists Launch Attacks To Seek Govt’s Patronage In Nigeria’s Northwest

In Gwaram, Zamfara, terrorists have abducted residents as negotiating pawns to force the government into negotiating with them. Locals told HumAngle the armed group attacked them on their farms in broad daylight.

On July 3, a group of armed terrorists invaded the Gwaram village of Zamfara State in Nigeria’s northwestern region. Residents said the deadly broad day attack was to protest the new government’s refusal to negotiate with the terrorists. 

Around 12:50 p.m., the attackers laid siege on the community, chanting in the Hausa language: “They [the government] must negotiate with us now”. They ambushed farmers working on their farm fields, killed three, and abducted about 15 others.

Since the emergence of a new government in the state, warlords of Zamfara have intensified brutal attacks on communities, demanding that authorities negotiate with them “for peace to reign”. But Dauda Lawal, the state Governor, has said he will not negotiate with terrorists like his predecessors had done. 

The former Governor of the state, Sani Yerima, was in the news on Monday after asking President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to consider granting amnesty to terrorists operating in the region.  He argued that negotiating with the terror group is similar to the amnesty granted to the Naija Delta militants of the south-south region by late President Umar Yar’Adua.

However, human rights activists and critics – like Bulama Bukarti – faulted Yerima’s demand from President Tinubu and asked the federal government to respond to the terrorists with military power. “You don’t negotiate with terrorists, you don’t negotiate with criminals,” Bukarti, a human rights lawyer, reiterated during a live show with Channels Television.

For over a decade now, armed groups have operated in the northwest region, killing, kidnapping, and maiming innocent citizens in the states. Earlier, HumAngle exclusively reported how the marauders went on a rampage in Zamfara, kidnapping locals and maiming them to get the new government’s attention. 

Now, in the Gwaram village of the state, the same has happened. The community residents told HumAngle the armed group attacked them on their farms in broad daylight.

“The terrorists were shouting at us saying the government must negotiate with them whether we like it or not,” said Ummaru Nagona, a local farmer who narrowly escaped the attack. “They opened fire and shot in the air when they met us on the farm.”

When contacted for comments on the recent attack in Gwaram, Yezid Abubakar, the Zamfara State Police Command’s spokesman, said he was not aware of the incident and promised to confirm from their source in the area.

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