Sustained aerial bombardments at some forests harbouring bandit camps in parts of North-West and North-Central states have compelled some notorious bandits to toe the path of surrender.
A top intelligence source told PRNigeria that some of the kingpins after the arrest and killing of some of their comrades have agreed to cease their hostilities and lay down their arms.
The officer said: “Some of their top leaders together with no fewer than 20 other ‘Leaders’ of some bandits’ units have discreetly reached out to the military authorities, seeking for amnesty.
“They have been terrorizing residents and villagers in Zamfara, Katsina, Niger, Kaduna, and other states in the Northwest and North Central for years now.
“I can confidently tell you that both Samailo and Danmaraki and some other relatively unknown but dangerous Heads of bandits’ gangs, who are feeling the heat of troops’ offensive in their dens, are begging the hierarchy of the Nigerian military to pardon them. They are ostensibly demanding for an amnesty to be granted them,” he added.
However, the intelligence officer who declined to give his name, said the military authorities and the political leadership have not finally considered the bandit’s plea.
He said they are still weighing both the pros and cons of giving the bandits’ kingpins amnesty, knowing their past history of reneging their promise to quit banditry for good.
“In recent military operations, a lot of bandits have been killed while carefully avoiding to attack soft locations where some of their captives, especially abducted students have been kept to serve as human shields.
“We are occasionally held back by ongoing negotiations between political leaders and religious clerics including Christians and Muslims with the bandits in order to prevent collateral damages. We are mindful of the fact that many innocent souls could be caught in the crossfire if we proceeded in some cases. That could also generate bad press and public backlash against the troops.”
Aside from troops’ aggressive bombardments, PRNigeria further gathered that the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. Gen. Faruq Yahaya’s leadership activated an effective mechanism and strategies, that is prodding bandits’ leaders and their ‘boys’ to surrender.