Bandit Leader Bello Turji Evaded NAF Bombings Last Week -Sources

Notorious Zamfara bandit leader, Bello Turji has reportedly escaped entrapment in aerial bombings by the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) fighter jets on his enclave located at Fakai in Shinkafi LGA, Zamfara State.

Daily Trust reports that there was heightened tension over the weekend among Turji’s men and residents, who worried possible attack in response to the military operation.

Nexus News recalls that on Saturday afternoon, NAF troops, acting on intelligence on the convergence of bandits at Turji’s home, attacked the locations with two fighter jets.

Sources said the crowd convened for the naming ceremony of a baby born to Turji’s family. While details of the damage effected on the camp remain vague, Turji and most of his close associates evaded the attack, having left the area to observe the afternoon prayer (zuhr) just before the strikes.

“He (Turji) directed that they should observe the prayers. Those who didn’t leave for the prayers were hit by the bombs,” a source in Shinkafi told Daily Trust.

The retreat on Saturday was the second time the bandit leader had escaped such an assault, Nexus News gathered.

In December 2021, a NAF bomb targeted at his camp struck some of his soldiers, injuring many and killing at least one person.

The bomb was said to have been dropped moments after Turji had left his house.

According to a source from the nearby village of Dangondi, who was among those who escaped the Saturday airstrike, many people were killed but did not give figures. He said those killed were buried after the commotion from the attack died down.

“Some young men were killed. There were also women and children who had gathered for the ceremony,” he said.

Turji is notorious for his banditry activities in Zamfara and beyond.

He operates with a large gang of gunmen who for years have terrorised residents in Shinkafi and Zurmi local governments of Zamfara, and Isa and Sabon Birni local governments of Sokoto State.

In 2021, the bandit leader declared he was laying down his arms. The ceasefire deal between him and the local communities led to renewed peace in the area, with many hitherto sacked farming communities returning to their farms this farming season.

However, a security source said Turji’s repentance was challenged by security agencies as he allegedly keeps on acquiring more weapons.

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