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Bandits Defy Air Strikes, Kill Seven in Niger

From Dan Amasingha, Minna 

There was palpable tension  in Niger East senatorial district on Tuesday as Armed bandits continued their killing spree in defiance to air strikes launched by the Military against them.

The attacks continued as the Federal and state government authorities concentrated efforts on battling the spread of the dreaded coronavirus.

DAILY ASSET  at Munya,  Rafi, Shiroro and part of Paikoro Local Government Areas of the state, the criminal  elements killed not less than Seven persons in the last  48 hours.

 The attacks came at a  time the Nigeria Airforce jets have been carrying out bombardment of the bandits and cattle rustlers in the area.

 A security source, who prefers to remain unanimous confided in DAILY ASSET on Tuesday that, the Nigeria Army had also deployed infantry soldiers to the troubled enclave to flush out the bandits once and for all despite operational difficulties.

 

However, despite the security measures put in place,  the bandits have been running riot in the area since Sunday, the April 19 and Monday evening, where no fewer than Seven persons were gunned down, cattle herds were rustled and properties worth millions of Naira carted away. 


An eye witness disclosed to DAILU ASSET that two people  were killed in Rafi local government Area on Sunday night, while another five lost their lives to the rampaging  bandits in the Niger East senatorial district of the state. 

“The most horrifying thing about what is happening  is that, the bandits are now so bold that they attack villages in broad day light and some times send advance messages to their would  be victims unchallenged,” the sourced said.

The first incident according to the source from the area was when some bandits numbering  about  50 stormed the area on motorbikes and started shooting randomly on the defenceless villagers before kidnapping some and dipossessing others of their valuables before fleeing the village. 


In the second incident, it was gathered that men of the local vigilante, who are the only reliable security presence in the area, were angered by the first attack and killings, and therefore, decided to assemble themselves to counterattack the bandits.


The vigilantes who are ill equipped, decided to lay ambush for the bandits but an informant leaked the plan to the invaders who attacked them from behind killing five of them on the spot.


After killing the vigilantes, the bandits had a field day in the community as they looted shops and rustled not less than 100 cattle.

This latest attack is coming barely one week after three people were killed and six others abducted by armed bandits in manta and Jiko communities in Shiroro local government area of the state.


As at the time of filling this report, over 1,000 villagers, mostly women and children were displaced from their homes in and were taking refuge in primary schools in Minna, the state capital.

 
“We are now living in fear because there is no one to come to our rescue, we cannot sleep in the night, in the day time we are also being attacked,” one of the villagers told our correspondent on phone.


He said the security personnel mobilized to the areas are only stationed at the local government headquarters in Kagara, while the Bandits are in the villages unleashing terror on the people.


He appealed to the government to come to their aid by giving specific instructions to the security operatives on what to do to stop this “killings and stealing”.


Confirming the development,  the Director General of the Niger State Emergency Management Agency, Alhaji Ibrahim Ahmed Inga said government has deployed additional security operatives to the areas, saying that the security agents were on top of the situation.


Inga also commiserated with those that lost loved ones, assuring that relief materials will be sent to those displaced without delay.


Chairman of the Rafi  local government, Alhaji Ismaila Musa Modibo, who also confirmed the story said a report has been made to the appropriate quarters about the worsening security situation in the local government area.


According to the  Chairman, the council was overwhelmed by the incessant attacks on communities in the area by the bandits, stressing that “the people can no longer sleep with eyes closed any longer.”
“Apart from lose of of innocent lives almost on daily basis, the people have lost everything to the bandits. I can tell you that the situation is better imagined than experienced, the entire local government is under siege despite the presence of security personnel”.

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