Bandit Leader Turji Dares FG: Govt Wants To Provoke Me

A notorious terrorist and bandit leader operating in northern Nigeria, particularly Zamfara, Sokoto and Niger states, Bello Turji Kachalla, has said the Nigerian government was not interested in ending banditry because some of its officials benefit from it.

The man simply and publicly called Turji was reacting to recent aerial bombardment of his residence by military jets. He accused the government of provoking them (terrorists) to break their peace pact with the residents.

Turji, early this year, led his gang to carry out a massacre in Zamfara where almost 200 people including women and children were killed.

On August 21 this year however, Deputy Governor of Zamfara state, Senator Muhammad Hassan Nasiha announced that Turji had embraced peace. But on September 18, he narrowly escaped being killed when the Nigerian Air force bombed his house in Fakai village in Shinkafi local government area of Zamfara state which led to the killing of 12 of his fighters and relatives.

The Defence Headquarters thereafter on November 14 declared him and 18 other terrorists wanted with a price tag of N5m each on their heads.

Reacting to the attack on his house, the bandit warlord, accused the government of breaking the peace accord they had with him to stop banditry and protect the people of Shinkafi axis from any attack.

Speaking on phone with an online Hausa television, Turji expressed bitterness over the air raid on his abode and the killing of innocent people when he had agreed with government officials and community leaders to abandon banditry.

His words: “I wonder if truly the government wanted to kill me. I think they only wanted to provoke me by making me renege on my promise not to kill anyone. If they could spot my house why couldn’t they sight and kill me because I only left the house a couple of minutes when the bombardment occurred.

“The people should know their enemy from the onset. The government is provoking us so that we will take revenge on the poor masses.

“The government is only fooling the gullible and naive people that they want to end banditry whereas in actual sense, they are the ones fueling the activities of the bandits and also benefiting from them.

“Peace is priceless and I’m ready to be a peace advocate unless the government wants me to be a warmonger. I’m ready for either peace or war. Whatever, the government wants, we can give them a multitude.”Turji imposes N20m protection levy on residents

As the Defence Headquarters said they were looking for Turji and announced a N5m price tag on him, the notorious bandit leader was exercising his authority in his area of control by imposing a N20 million “Protection Levy” on Moriki community which is located 33km along Kaura Namoda -Shinkafi road.

Turji had imposed the N20m levy on the residents of the village and asked them to pay the money on or before Sunday, November 27, or face his wrath.

He threatened to attack the Zamfara village if the money was not paid on or before the deadline

He said if the community could raise and deliver the money within two weeks, they should have no fear of attacks and every farmer from the town could tend to his farmland without any intimidation.

Residents said that Turji had escalated attacks on Moriki and other neighbouring communities since the NAF raid on his residence near Fakai village in the neighbouring Shinkafi local government area in September

According to him, “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 air strikes. The government only succeeded in destroying some part of my house and other buildings belonging to the innocent people.

“For the past five months, we didn’t attack or kill anyone around Shinkafi. As a result, farming and other businesses were flourishing without any hitches. I feel embarrassed when my name was mentioned after the attacks by other terrorists”.

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