According to a recent report, a former Assistant Director with the Department of State Services, Mr. Dennis Amachree, says Islamic cleric, Sheikh Gumi, met bandits in a compound close to a Military post in Niger State to discuss the release of the abducted students and teachers of Government Science College, Kangara.
Amachree explained that the security officials were asked to surrender their weapons at a nearby Military outpost before they were allowed into the compound where about 700 bandits were assembled.
When asked how Gumi was able to easily access bandits that security agents are having troubles to get hold of, Amachree answered that, “The Security Agencies are very much aware because if you remember, when Gumi went to see these bandits, remember there was a Military post there and they asked everybody to drop their guns and even if they are Policemen they should stay at the Military post before they come to the camp where they are.
“That means the Military themselves know that there are some people out there, 700 strong or 600 strong in there. So, it is not a matter of they don’t know. I think they know but you know, you just don’t jump into 700 fully armed people because the tactics have to be planned properly to handle things like that.”
Amachree also said that it was possible that the Security Agents were trying to avoid collateral damage which is why they didn’t engage the bandits in a gun battle and rescue hostages.
The former DSS official said the bandits could easily use the captives as a human shield.
He added, “When you see bandits like that if their number is large, you will decide whether you want to get reinforcement to move in there. Then secondly, sometimes they have hostages with them and the hostages then become human shields for them.
“So, if you go in there, there will be a lot of collateral damage. So, these are the considerations. I am not currently in the theatre of what is happening there. So, I don’t know what the commanders of that area are doing but I can tell you they are not just sitting down.”
The former DSS boss explained that the Nigerian Air Force aircraft that crashed on Sunday, killing seven officers and airmen, was probably on a mission to unearth the exact location of the hostages.
He, however, faulted governors for negotiating with bandits. Adding that, rather than pay ransom to bandits, governors should use the money to fund security agencies so that they would be equipped to confront criminals and prevent their acts.