In what observers described as a daring raid, bandits in broad daylight killed 10 persons and abducted 24 others in attacks carried out yesterday on communities in Niger State.
This is coming as the state government has confirmed the killing by bandits of the village head of Kusherki in Rafi Local Government Area, Masud Abubakar and the abduction of his wife.
Five of the 10 victims were said to be men of the local vigilante while the others were young boys who were said to be supporting the vigilante operatives.
The raid according to eyewitnesses started at about 12.30pm and continued untill around 2.00pm.
According to the report, the bandits numbering over 50 rode on motorcycles and operated with sophisticated weapons, including AK-47 rifles.
Eye witnesses said the bandits started from Kasuwe village and moved from there to other villages, killing and maiming innocent villagers.
“They (bandits) also dispossessed the villagers of food items and other valuables,” said a source.
It was gathered that while the invasion was ongoing a helicopter hovered in the air without attacking the bandits.
Another set of bandits according to sources, also blocked the major highway leading to Minna from Sarkin Pawa, leaving motorists to scamper for their safety.
Secretary to Rafi LG Council, James Isaac Jagaba when contacted, confirmed the incident but said “ I cannot give you details
“My vigilante members are still battling with the bandits; I am yet to get a report from them,” Jagaba said.
A state government statement which confirmed the Kusherki incident, did not say when it happened but lamented that the increasing activities of kidnappers and bandits in the state are becoming a nightmare to the people.
The statement signed by Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mary Noel Berje described the situation “as callous and regrettable,” adding that “the murder of the traditional title holder is a challenge to the security agencies to intensify their search to ‘fish-out’ and ensure that the perpetrators of such heinous acts are brought to justice
“The situation, particularly in the last 72 hours, has become regrettably alarming! While efforts are ongoing to secure the release of the abducted NSTA passengers, we heard that of Kusherki and other areas. We are witnessing these attacks now, almost, on daily basis and it is worrisome,” the statement added.
The statement requested for more federal government’s intervention to tackle the menace noting that “banditry is becoming a situation of war in the state,” hence the need for a fresh, sustainable and multidimensional strategy that will neutralise both the bandits and their informants.