Abdulaziz Yari, governor of Zamfara state, says the government will not apologise over the alleged killing of villagers during the bombardment of suspected bandits camps in Dumburum village in Zurmi local government area of the state.
The governor, who made the statement when a 7-member investigation team on the matter visited him at his Talata-Mafara private residence, said Dunburum village had served as a hideout for criminals over the last three years.
The council of chiefs in the state had accused the Nigerian air force of bombing innocent citizens in the area.
But Yari said this is untrue, insisting that the force only targeted bandits.
“As far as I am concerned and as the head of government in the state, l haven’t seen anything wrong done by the air force, l haven’t received any brief on such matter,” he said.
“Dumburum has been a criminal hideout for over three years and the Emir of Zurmi has once asked me to go and wipe out the area saying all those residing there were bandits, so l am surprised that the emir will be part of those saying innocent people were killed in an encounter in the area.”
The governor, who said some powers were working against the state, added that “some people will stay in Abuja and fabricate things against the operations in Zamfara in order to distract the operation, this we must not allow.
“Please, all security agencies especially the air force should continue with your usual constitutional duties and the state government will give you all the support to facilitate your concentration in trying to bring back peace which has eluded the state since 2007.
“You should continue with the firepower to show the criminals that there is a government in place and we won’t negotiate with them again because when we did that in the past, the leaders pretended as if all was well while they allowed their boys to continue to lay siege on the communities.”
Handing over a letter of condolence to the governor from Sadique Abubakar, chief of air staff, Idi Lubo, the team leader, said it was part of the chief’s concern in case the allegations were true.
“The chief of air staff has directed us to properly investigate the matter in order to unravel the truth,” he said.
“We have visited other stakeholders and discovered that there was misinformation which we have now resolved and wish to assure the people of the state that we shall continue to discharge our assigned responsibilities in protecting the innocent with professionalism.”
The team visited heads of security agencies, traditional rulers and government officials while in the state.