Rampaging bandits kill, abduct scores in Niger, Kebbi


Richard Elesho

In spite of a recent Presidential directive to the military to step up their operations against criminals in Niger State, gunmen have gone on rampage in parts of the State and Kebbi, killing scores of people, injuring some and abducting several others.

The random attacks started in both states on Friday and continued till Sunday.

In Niger State, the gunmen invaded Farin-Shinge, Kulho, Jigawa, Dogo Fadama communities of Mashegu Local Government Area on Friday afternoon. At least three people were massacred, while no less than 28 were whisked away from the communities.

It was gathered that the bandits instantly set the ransom term for the release of their victims. They were reported to have demanded seven 50 litres kegs of petrol, packs of Viju Milk, other drinks and provisions.

The gunmen who allegedly began their raid shortly after Jumat service caught the communities unaware. They moved freely from one house to another, stole valuable household items and rustled cattle.

This comes barely a week after a similar attack where at least 13 people were killed by the terrorists in Shiroro LGA of the state.

The bandits were more callous in neighbouring Kebbi, where they killed 53 hapless citizens.

The motorbike-riding gunmen in their dozens reportedly invaded Dankade village killed three security personnel in gun battle and scores of civilians. They also abducted unspecified number of people including a community leader.

Abdullahi Karman Unashi told Reuters that the men entered the village on Friday night and exchanged gunfire with soldiers and policemen

Security forces were forced to retreat, leaving the attackers to burn shops and grain silos and take cattle into the early hours of Saturday, he said.

“They killed two soldiers and one police officer and 50 villagers. (They) kidnapped the community leader of Dankade and many villagers, mostly women and children,” Karman said.

It came a week after armed men killed 200 people in the nearby state of Zamfara.

Didzi Umar Bunu, son of the abducted community leader, said the gunmen had returned early on Sunday and torched more houses.

“They have not called or made any ransom demand. Dankade village is littered with dead bodies,” he said on the phone.

Nafiu Abubakar, police spokesperson for Kebbi, did not respond to calls and messages to his phone.

President Buhari at the weekend ordered full scale military response to banditry in Niger State. It is believed that fleeing insurgents from the theater of war in the northeast and embattled bandits from the Northwest have been migrating to Niger to take cover in her vast forest and landmass.