Bello Turji Kachalla (listen) popularly known as Turji, (born 1994) is a notorious Nigerian terrorist and bandit leader who is operating in Northern Nigeria, particularly Zamfara, Sokoto and Niger state. Turji led a bandit gang on 2022 Zamfara massacres, almost 200 people including women and children were killed.[1][2][3][4]

Bello Turji Kachalla
Turji.jpg
Birth nameBello Usman
Born1994 (age 27-28)
Shinkafi, Zamfara State, Nigeria
AllegianceBanditry
Years of service2011 to date
RankTerrorist, Bandits leader
Battles/warsNigerian bandit conflict

Early lifeEdit

Turji was born in Shinkafi local government of Zamfara State, Northern Nigeria.[5][6] Turji was raised as a Fulani cattle herder without education. Turji claims that some of his family's cattle were stolen by a pro-security forces vigilante group called the Yan Sakai who also murdered six of Turji's siblings. Turji also claims his father tried to sue the Emir of Zurmi (to whom the stolen cattle were given) but his efforts failed, and that the Yan Sakai killed his uncle. Turji told the Daily Trust in an interview that this had prompted him to take up arms.[7]

CareerEdit

Bello Turji is known to have been responsible for numerous massacres and terrorist attacks against civilians and security forces in the North West region of the country, especially Zamfara and Sokoto State.[8]

In September 2021, the Yan Sakai attacked a mosque in Gwadabawa, killing eleven people. Turji responded by leading his bandits towards a market in Goronyo, Sokoto State. The bandits entered the bazaar and opened fire, killing at least 50[9] to over 60 civilians.[10] In December 2021, Turji's forces attacked a bus in Sabon Birni, setting it on fire and burning the passengers inside to death.[11][9] 30 people died in the ambush.[12]

 
Zamfara state Map

Turji was the mastermind behind the slaughter of over 200 people in Zamfara state in January 2022.[13][14]

He is a rival of another bandit leader named Dogo Gide.[15]

Personal lifeEdit

Turji believes that Fulani people are being subjected to genocide in Nigeria, and has justified his actions as being reprisals against attacks on Fulani bandits and civilians.[7]

Turji claims to be a practicing Muslim[7] and a close friend of Islamic scholar Ahmad Abubakar Gumi,[citation needed] Turji has enforced chosen elements of sharia law on the towns he controls. Despite evidence, Turji has "strongly denied" inquires about his relations to Boko Haram and other jihadist groups, insisting that his goals are unrelated to religion. Some of his officers have alleged that he celebrates Mawlid, which is not permitted under Salafism.[15]

Public imageEdit

Bello Turji is one of the best known Nigerian bandits, and enjoys a heavy amount of publicity from the media.[15] A popular Hausa-language song in Nigeria depicts a man singing while chanting women in the background describe the bandit as a "hero among heroes."[16]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "At least 200 dead in bandit attacks in northwest Nigeria". Al Jazeera. Archived from the original on 9 January 2022. Retrieved 9 January 2022.
  2. ^ "Endless massacres by Islamists in Nigeria: Boko, ISIS, Turji loyalists, Fulani, and others | Modern Tokyo Times". 10 January 2022. Archived from the original on 10 January 2022. Retrieved 10 January 2022.
  3. ^ Gabriel, John (9 January 2022). "Zamfara killings: You'll never know peace – University don curses bandits, sponsors". Daily Post Nigeria. Archived from the original on 9 January 2022. Retrieved 10 January 2022.
  4. ^ "Authorities: Death Toll Surpass 200 in Attacks in Nigeria's North". VOA. Retrieved 12 June 2022.
  5. ^ Babangida, Mohammed (3 January 2022). "Amidst military offensive, notorious bandit Turji releases 52 kidnap victims". premiumtimesng.com. Retrieved 18 April 2022.
  6. ^ "Nigerian Military Raids Turji's Hideout, Kills Scores of Bandits in Zamfara, Sokoto Forests". prnigeria.com. 19 December 2021. Retrieved 18 April 2022.
  7. ^ a b c "How I joined banditry and why I want to quit – Bello Turji". Daily Trust. 6 March 2022. Retrieved 6 June 2022.
  8. ^ editing (17 December 2021). "Musician Releases 14-Minute Long Song Celebrating Bandit Kingpin, Bello Turji". Sahara Reporters. Retrieved 6 June 2022.
  9. ^ a b "FLASHBACK: The Killing 'That Triggered Bello Turji's Attacks in Sokoto'". Foundation For Investigative Journalism. 20 December 2021. Retrieved 12 June 2022.
  10. ^ "Terrorists Become Deadlier In Sokoto Despite Govt's Stringent Measures". HumAngle Media. 21 October 2021. Retrieved 12 June 2022.
  11. ^ "Why Notorious Bandit Bello Turji Released 50 Kidnapped Victims — Zamfara Govt". The Whistler Newspaper. 4 January 2022. Retrieved 12 June 2022.
  12. ^ Hazzad, Ardo (8 December 2021). "Gunmen torch bus, kill 30 passengers in Nigeria's Sokoto state". Reuters. Retrieved 12 June 2022.
  13. ^ Gabriel, John (9 January 2022). "Zamfara killings: You'll never know peace - University don curses bandits, sponsors". Daily Post Nigeria. Retrieved 6 June 2022.
  14. ^ "Zamfara Attacks: Over 50 dead bodies found as residents panic over rumour of Turji's relocation". 7 January 2022. Retrieved 6 June 2022.
  15. ^ a b c "Northwestern Nigeria: A Jihadization of Banditry, or a "Banditization" of Jihad?". Combating Terrorism Center at West Point. 27 January 2022. Retrieved 12 June 2022.
  16. ^ "Musician releases song in praise of bandit kingpin Turji". 16 December 2021. Retrieved 12 June 2022.