Bandits tighten grip on Niger, kill 10, abduct 24 in fresh invasion

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By ‘Kanmi AKINLADE, Investigator Correspondent, Northern zone

THERE seemed to be no end in sight to the seamless Bandits invasion and bloodletting to the people of Niger State as the evolving scenario clearly suggests. Just hours after a bloody attack on the Raffi-Kotangora Road, heavily armed men on Tuesday again, invaded some communities in a broad day show of bravado, killed 10 persons and abducted 24 others. This was just as the state government confirmed the killing of the village head of Kusherki in the Rafi Local Government Area of the state, Alhaji Masud Abubakar, by the bandits, who also abducted his wife. Five of those killed were said to be members of the local vigilante group, while the others were young boys said to be supporting the vigilantes. The raid, according to eyewitnesses, began around 12.30pm and lasted till around 2pm. According to reports, the bandits numbering over 50 rode on motorcycles and operated with sophisticated weapons, including AK-47 rifles. Eyewitnesses said the bandits began their operation from Kasuwe village and moved to other villages killing and maiming innocent villagers. The bandits also dispossessed the villagers of food items and other valuables. It was gathered that during the attack, a helicopter hovered in the air to allegedly give the bandits protection. Another set of bandits, according to sources, blocked the major highway leading to Minna from Sarkin Pawa, leaving motorists to run helter-skelter. The Secretary to the Local Government Council, Mr James Jagaba, confirmed the attack but said, “I cannot give you details. My vigilante corps members are still battling with the bandits I have yet to get a report from them. It 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 a daily basis and it is worrisome,” the statement quoted Governor Abubakar Bello as saying.

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