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Bandits on Rampage in Niger State, Kill 38 and Kidnap Scores Within 48 Hours

A witness said the bandits stormed the market riding on motorcycles with each clutching AK-47 rifles.

Bandits have gone on the rampage in communities in the Rafi local government area of Niger State, killing not less than 38 villagers and kidnapping scores of others within two days.

The gunmen raided Katako village in Rafi local government area on Friday, where they killed 25 people before raiding Kusherki town in the same local government killing 13 people on Saturday.

Also on Saturday, the terrorists stormed the popular Mariga Market in Mariga local government area attacking and injuring scores of traders as well as rustling their cattle and making away with the sales of the traders.

The number of people kidnapped could not be immediately ascertained, but one of the traders who escaped with injuries said “they are many.”

The witness said the bandits stormed the market riding three of them on motorcycles with each clutching AK-47 rifles.

“They shot sporadically into the air to scare the traders with the bullets hitting and injuring some of the traders” the eyewitness said on condition of anonymity.

Niger State Police Public Relations Offiicer, DSP Wasiu Abiodun, said the police in collaboration with the military have been dispatched to Yakila, Tegina, Kagara, Pandogari, Kusherki and other villages in the local government area to restore normalcy in the affected areas.

Abiodun did not however confirm the number of casualties or people kidnapped.

In a statement at the weekend the Senator representing Niger East Senatorial District in the State, Alhaji Mohammed Sani Musa, cried out that armed gunmen have taken over communities in his constituency, saying not less than 20 villagers had been killed in the last couple of weeks while about 70 others were kidnapped.

Musa, in the statement made available to newsmen in Minna, also said the bandits were raping women and girls apart from stealing their valuable items including money.

The federal lawmaker disclosed that the villages mostly affected were in Kwagana, and Kaffinkoro wards in Paikoro local government area, Sabo Kabula in Munya local government area and Pandogari ward in Rafi LGA and others in Shiroro LGA

“The saddest aspect of this saga is that the victims are being subjected to inhuman treatments with some chained together to forestall their escape from their captors,” he said, adding that the bandits were also demanding ransoms of between N1.5 million and N4 million, “from the beleaguered families of their victims at times collecting these huge sums of money and failing to release their captives.”

Musa added: “The insecurity in the senatorial district attained alarming proportions in the last few weeks, a development that means that the bandits are testing the will and capacities of the Federal and Niger State governments to secure the lives and property of Nigerians.”

He, however, contended that he believes “President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration will deal decisively with the criminals in the coming days.”

Musa therefore challenged the security agencies in the state and at the Federal level to “live up to their responsibilities by combing the forests to free those detained there” so that they can begin to live normal lives especially now that “we are in the rainy season when those kidnapped are supposed to be on their farms doing what they know how best to do to earn a livelihood.”

He commiserated with the families of the captives, assuring that “very soon your loved ones will regain their freedom.

Laleye Dipo

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