Northerners are Supporting Bandits and Boko Haram Because of Religious Affinity – Buratai

Alt: = "Former Nigeria Chief of Army Staff and current Nigeria's Ambassador to Benin Republic"

Nigeria's Former Chief of Army Staff Tukur Buratai has said that one the challenges hindering fight against Boko Haram insurgency and banditry in the North is  strong religious affinity between northerners and the bandits and terrorists.

The Chief of Army Staff stated this on Friday on Channels Television.

The former COAS, who currently is Nigeria’s ambassador to the Benin Republic, made this statement while speaking on Channels TV on Friday. 

Buratai, who is now Nigeria’s Ambassador to Benin Republic said deradicalisation of bandits and terrorists, and the education of northerners, will help win the war against terror. 

“There is strong religious affinity between the people in the town and the bandits and terrorists in the forests.

“There should be more deradicalisation and further education on the impact and consequence of terrorism, banditry, kidnappings in the society to the people who lives in town so that they don’t support the bandits or the terrorists in the bush,” Mr Buratai said.

For over a decade, Nigeria’s North-East has been under incessant attacks by Boko Haram terrorists who are bent on establishing an Islamic Caliphate in the region.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in June reported that since taken up arms against the Nigerian state in 2009, Boko Haram terrorists have killed about 350,000 people in the North-East, 90 per cent of whom were children.  

Similarly in the North-West, bandits have continued to murder, ransack communities and kidnap citizens (especially schoolchildren) in their hundreds for ransom; forcing schools closure in Kaduna, Katsina, Kebbi and Zamfara on different occasions. 

In November, the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court declared them terrorists but the Federal government is reluctant in designating the bandits as terrorists and publishing it on the office gazette 

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