A prominent Kaduna-based cleric, Sheikh Abubakar Ahmad Gumi, has defended bandits, saying they are fighting an “ethnic war”.
Speaking on Channels TV programme on Monday, Gumi stated that most killing done by Fulani herdsmen are accidental.
According to the clergyman, bandits are not interested in killing people said they only kill people when they are avenging the death of one of them.
He said the bandits are mostly interested in ransoms from kidnapping and also open to negotiation.
“I choose to call them militants because they are fighting an ethnic war,” Gumi said.
“They are kidnapping to get money. Look at the case where they released a bus full of people, they were asking N500 million but now, they freed them with mere negotiations for free. Nothing was paid.
“Since there is a peace process, they are ready to lay down their arms, stop kidnapping and all the things they are doing.
“And you call them killer herdsmen, how many people do they kill?
“When they kill, it is mostly accidental, maybe somebody they took who is sick. But tell me who they have killed? How many? Few.”
On where the bandits have razed down villages during attacks, he said: “That killing is not because of criminality but for ethnic revenge. And they don’t attack a village except that village did something to one of them,” he added.
The cleric also warned that the bandits might be influenced by Boko Haram insurgents operating in the north-east if “if the pressure is too much”.
“I am afraid they can be influenced by Boko Haram. And we have seen the signs that Boko Haram is going to infiltrate them but so far, they are not Boko Haram,” he said.
Source: Naija News