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El-Rufai vows to hire foreign mercenaries if FG fails to crush terrorists

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Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State has vowed to hire foreign mercenaries if the federal government and the Nigerian Army fail to crush terrorists and bandits in the Northwest region.

El-Rufai said this while addressing state House correspondents in Abuja where he had gone to brief the President on the increasing rate of terror attacks in his state.

Ripples Nigeria reported an attack on a Kaduna train by terrorists on Monday night, killing at least eight passengers, while an unverified number was kidnapped and many hospitalized.

There has been series of attacks in Kaduna, and other Northwest states this week.

El-Rufai hinted that four others of the seven Northwestern states—Katsina, Zamfara, Kebbi, Sokoto—may join him to hire foreign mercenaries if the Federal Government does not end the ongoing spate of terror attacks in the region.

“Why is it that up till now, the security has not gone to kill them? Where are our soldiers? Why have they not done it? That is why I have come to see Mr President.

“And also I have said that if these actions are not taken, it becomes a must for us as governors to take measures to protect our citizens, even if it means we will import mercenaries from outside the country to do it. If our soldiers fail, I swear to God, we will do that.

READ ALSO: Southern, Middle Belt leaders urge Buhari to declare total war on terrorists

“This issue has gotten to an alarming state,” he said.

The governor, who spoke in a brief interview conducted in the Hausa language, argued that the Monday night attack on Abuja-Kaduna train would have been avoided if the federal government had heeded his earlier warnings.

He said his government had written twice to the Nigerian Railway Corporation warning it of an impending attack by members of Boko Haram.

“We wrote them twice to stop night trips because we had a security report that Boko Haram had entered and they were planning to blow up the train. We wrote to them twice but they didn’t listen,” he lamented.

“Secondly, the Air Force, in response to that security report, went and established a base at Katari, where helicopters can land and refuel so that if anything happens, they can quickly respond. But that cannot work at night because some helicopters cannot even fly at night. That is why we advised the Federal Government that the night train should be stopped.

“We suggested that the last trip should leave Abuja by 4:00pm so that they could arrive in Kaduna before nightfall and the same for the last trip from Kaduna, but our advice was not taken. It took the security agents over an hour to get to the scene when the attack happened because it was night. It would have been faster in the afternoon.”

El-Rufai noted that if the military are not proactive in fighting the terrorists, he would hire mercenaries to do the job.

“Why do we always wait for them to strike before we go after them? Why can’t we go to where they are and kill them? We know where they are. We have the maps as the military knows, the policemen know and everyone knows. The DSS is giving us a report every time: see where Dogo Gide is, see what he is planning.

“Why is it that up till now, the security operatives has not gone to kill them? Where are our soldiers? Why have they not done it? That is why I have come to see Mr President.

“And also I have said that if these actions are not taken, it becomes a must for us as governors to take measures to protect our citizens, even if it means we will import mercenaries from outside the country to do it. If our soldiers fail, I swear to God, we will do that,” he threatened.

He noted that the President has assured him that the attacks will be brought to an end within months.

By Oluwatobi Odeyinka

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