The Katsina State Government may have traced 20 of its indigenes to Burkina Faso, where they were allegedly sold into slavery by armed bandits who abducted them.
Reports indicated that “modern day slavery” thrives in Burkina Faso, a former French colony located in the Sahel region of West Africa, with human merchandise exchanging hands through various middlemen in parts of northern Nigeria, Benin Republic, Republic of Niger and Chad.
Competent sources told Daily Sun that identification of the current location of some of the kidnap victims was part of the fall out of recent efforts by Governor Aminu Bello Masari, who led a team of government officials and security agencies to Rugu forest, to dialogue with a cross section of the bandits and kidnappers.
According to sources, “the victims were kidnapped in Kankara Local Government Area and sold to a woman in Cotonou who in turn sold the victims to another slave marchant in Burkina Faso.”
Special Adviser on Drugs, Narcotics and Human Trafficking to Masari, Hamza Borodo, declined to give further details, but said, “yes, I will be traveling to Burkina Faso this weekend to negotiate their release, but I won’t give you details until I return.”
Until the dialogue initiative, eight LGAs of Jibia, Batsari, Safana, Dan-Musa, Kankara, Faskari, Dandume and Sabuwa, had become synonymous with banditry and kidnapping, along with the killing of residents in communities.
Incidentally, the areas share boundaries with the Rugu forest, said to transverse through parts of the neighbouring Niger Republic, Katsina, Zamfara and Kaduna states.
Governor Masari, had in August, met with representatives of bandits terrorising the eight frontline LGAs in the state in order to find a lasting solution to incessant attacks and kidnappings in the state.
The meeting which was held at the State Secretariat had different stakeholders in attendance.
They included: heads of security agencies, the deputy governor Manir Yakubu, traditional rulers and districts heads led by the Emir of katsina, Abdulmumin kabir Usman, Secretary to the State Government Mustapha Inuwa, Transition Committee Chairmen of the affected front line LGAs, representatives of Miyeti Allah and the Fulani herdsmen.
It was gathered that attendance of the representatives of the bandits was made possible by the recent amnesty declared for the bandits by the North West Governors at a recent meeting held in the state.
Masari, while speaking warned that the insecurity rocking the affected LGAs in the state has become embarrassing to both the state Government and President Buhari who is also an indigene of the state.
He further vowed that his government would deploy every means in dealing decisively and ruthlessly with the activities of bandits and kidnappers in the state.
The meeting, the governor said, would be of great impact towards restoring peace, not only in the affected LGAs, but also the entire 34 LGAs in the state.
“We are ready to dialogue with the bandits and are ready to go anywhere they invite us, because we are not afraid to meet anybody to end this problem.
“As a leader, I must find the solution to the problem so that if today I died know how to defend myself before God. I will not allow this to continue enough is enough’’
“I have directed the security operatives to take all necessary measures to change the narrative on insecurity in the state, by any means necessary.’’