The police recently raided no fewer than 13 bandit camps and several other criminal hideouts in three local government areas of Sokoto State and arrested 57 suspects.
Thirty-seven of the suspects were identified as associates of the notorious bandit kingpin, Bello Turji with one of them disclosing to newsmen how he purchased a gun truck for N28.5m in Niger Republic.
The Deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of operations, Ahmed Zaki Gwandu, said during the week that the raids were carried out through the instrumentality of a team set up by the Inspector General of Police tagged ‘Operation Sahara’.
DIG Gwandu, who addressed newsmen while parading the suspects at the headquarters of the Sokoto State police command in Sokoto, described the raids as part of larger efforts to stamp out banditry and other crimes across the country.
He said the 37 arrested bandits linked with Bello Turji, who is believed to be responsible for most of the major attacks in the eastern part of the state and neighbouring Zamfara State, including Musa Mohammed Kamarawa, 33, were apprehended at different locations and they had all confessed to their complicity in the crime of banditry.
Purchase of guntruck Kamarawa, who was said to be a childhood friend of Bello Turji, shed more light on the activities of his gang. Responding to questions from newsmen, the 33-year-old revealed how he procured a gun truck at the cost of N28.5 million from a neighbouring country.
He said he was linked with the seller by another bandit leader. Kamarawa said: “I got the contact from Katchala Halilu who is a bandit leader in Zamfara and Sokoto states.
“After I collected the money from him, I got a car and travelled with my brother to Cotonou (Benin Republic). We couldn’t find the vehicle there and someone sent us the number of another person living in Libya.
“The person is also a car dealer. When I called him, he referred me back to Gaya in Niger Republic where I delivered the money and my brother went to deliver the vehicle to Halilu.
“My brother’s name is Aminu and we were together with one Bashar, myself, Yahya Dogo and Saddam.”