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Bandits are terrorists

Bandits are terrorists
July 21
14:58 2021

You will be forgiven to think you were reading a script from a Nollywood or Hollywood movie, reading reports that bandits fired at a military plane in Zamfara recently.

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Like James Bond, the gallant pilot of the Nigerian air force alpha jet, Flight Lieutenant Abayomi Dairo, successfully ejected from the aircraft.

This is no longer funny; if bandits can fire at a fighter jet to the extent of bringing it down, then Armageddon is here.

Sadly, with this, the bandits have successfully graduated into a full-blown terrorist group. I remember some years ago when we were still wondering if Boko Haram were a sect or just irritants, they bombed the United Nations building in Abuja and graduated to a terrorist group.

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Now, their nefarious cousins, bandits, have joined the ranks of terrorist organisations.

To be sure, their modus operandi is different, Boko Haram is bent n Islamising the country with their brand of Islam. That is why 80 percent of their targets are Christians, whether we admit it or not. To them, they are doing God’s work and financial gains is the last thing on their minds.

However, bandits are in for the money. They don’t care if their targets are Christians, Muslims, animists, or traditionalists, all they are after is the money.

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With this latest attack on a plane, they should be designated a terrorist organisation. So what if they start targeting commercial planes, it gives me the chills just thinking about it. I am sure they didn’t fire at the planes with AK-47, but with rocket launchers or more sophisticated weapons, which means they are armed to the teeth, battle-ready for war.

Also that this same week, bandits killed 13 policemen and razed many villages in the north-west. According to a report in April this year, the quarterly security report of the Kaduna state government had revealed that 323 persons were killed and 949 kidnapped by bandits in the last three months across the state.

Also, data obtained from the Nigeria Security Tracker, NST, a project of the Council on Foreign Relations Africa programme, have shown in the first six weeks of 2021, lives of no fewer than 1, 525 persons were lost.

With the military fighting insurgency in the north-east, we can’t afford another insurgency in the north-west. Let’s stop deceiving ourselves, the bandits have touched the tiger’s tail and the military should respond in kind.

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We need to break this cycle of violence and killing. I have full confidence in the military to end banditry.

I think it’s time President Muhammadu Buhari declare them a terrorist organisation and the full weight of the military deployed to take them out. This is no longer funny.

Jonathan Nda-Isaiah, political director at LEADERSHIP Newspapers, can be reached via 08061573299, 08054518774.

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