Bandits have killed 10 people and abducted many others in separate attacks between Sunday and Tuesday in Katsina and Niger states.
Police in Katsina said that bandits in their numbers stormed Guga Village of Bakori Local Government Area of the State and reportedly killed eight people and abducted many others including the village head, Dan Alhaji Umar. The police spokesman, SP Gambo Isah, said the bandits invaded the village around 10pm and killed four people and abducted four others.
He added that on their way out of the village at an area called Unguwar Galadima, members of the local vigilante group engaged the bandits where four of the vigilantes lost their lives and four others sustained injuries, raising the fatality figure to eight. However, reports from the affected community indicated that the casualty figure could be higher. One of the sons of the village head was said to be among the people killed.
He, however, said the police engaged the bandits in a gun battle and rescued the abducted persons and the animals after killing one of the assailants.
Two killed, dozens abducted in Niger
In Niger State, at least two persons have been reportedly killed and several others kidnapped as bandits invaded communities in Mariga, Magama and Wushishi local government areas.
The communities attacked were Mosabo, Zoma, Atabo, Cheji, Akare, as well as Gulbin-Boka and Kwimo.
The attacks on the communities reportedly took place between Sunday and Monday.
A resident of Atabo, Alhaji Noma Atabo, said Mosabo, Zoma and Atabo, about 3km West of Kontagora, and Gulbin-Boka and Kwimo, 5km North of Kontagora had suffered a series of unreported attacks as the communities served as the cattle route that the bandits passed through regularly.
He said, “Anytime they pass through their regular route, they would attack communities. In the last attack between Sunday afternoon and Monday morning, they moved from the Bangi axis to our communities.
“They killed two persons, kidnapped two others in Gulbin-Boka and Kwimo while several others have been displaced. Some people are currently in Kontagora while some people have been hiding in mountains around our communities.
“We need security. We have been denied our means of livelihood. We are farmers; we can’t go to farm; our markets have been disrupted with a series of attacks. Government should find a way out of this problem that we are facing.”
Another source, Yahaya Suleiman, said the terrain of the communities made quick security interventions impossible, calling for a permanent security presence in the area.
“It is rare for them not to attack marketers every Wednesday. The Bangi axis has been very risky for a long time now.” He said.
In a related development, gunmen invaded Cheji and Akare communities in Wushishi Local Government Area Tuesday morning where they rustled cows and abducted an unspecified number of villagers.
Sources said the bandits blocked Zungeru-Tegina Road for hours uninterrupted, robbing travellers of cash and other valuables.
A source, Sadauki Abubakar, who said he was caught in the operation, told our correspondent that the bandits “didn’t kidnap anybody” but collected money and other valuables from travelers before setting them free.
When contacted, the Niger State Police Command’s Public Relations Officer, DSP Wasiu Abiodun, confirmed the attacks on Cheji and Akare and the blockage of Zungeru-Tegina Road.
He said, “On 08/02/2022 at about 0200hrs, suspected armed bandits attacked Akare and Cheji villages via Zungeru in Wushishi LGA.”
He said the command had dispatched a team of policemen led by the deputy commissioner of police in charge of operations to the area for an on-the-spot assessment.
“Meanwhile, normalcy has been restored and there is a free flow of traffic on the road,” he added.