Terror Kingpin Bello Turji Narrates How Banditry Started In Zamfara

by Ohepo Ohepo

Gusau, Zamfara – Bello Turji, a notorious bandit leader known for his reign of terror in Zamfara State, has shed light on the origins of the region’s pervasive banditry in a recent video. Seated under a tree adorned with a military hat and wielding sophisticated weaponry, Turji narrated the series of events that escalated tensions from peaceful coexistence to rampant violence and insecurity.

Introduction of Sharia Law: Turji attributed the initial spark of conflict to the implementation of Sharia Law by former Zamfara State Governor Ahmad Sani Bakura. According to Turji, the partial application of Sharia Law, particularly an incident where a Fulani man’s hand was amputated for theft, incited significant unrest among the Fulani community.

Role of Vigilantes and Yan Sakai Militia: Turji pointed fingers at local vigilante groups and the Yan Sakai militia, accusing them of exacerbating violence and targeting Fulanis indiscriminately across Zamfara State. He alleged that these groups, allegedly supported by the government, intensified hostilities, compelling Fulanis to arm themselves in retaliation.

Escalation to Armed Banditry: “Our initial foray into banditry was a response to the atrocities committed against us by vigilantes and Yan Sakai members,” Turji recounted. “Starting with a handful of weapons, we gradually acquired more firearms and began launching retaliatory attacks on villages.”

Spread of Violence and Criminal Activities: The escalating violence over the years led to widespread banditry, kidnapping for ransom, and other severe crimes across Zamfara and neighboring states. Turji himself terrorized Isa Local Government Area in Sokoto State and various LGAs in Zamfara, imposing illegal taxes on communities and orchestrating brutal attacks.

Current Status and Impact: Despite being declared wanted by the Defence Headquarters and surviving multiple military airstrikes on his hideouts, Turji remains a central figure in the region’s security crisis. His recent video testimony provides a stark insight into the complex origins and devastating consequences of the banditry scourge in northwest Nigeria.

This narrative by Turji underscores the deep-seated grievances and complex dynamics fueling the persistent violence in Zamfara State and highlights the challenges in achieving sustainable peace and security in the region.

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