District, Wards, Village Heads Flee As Bandits Occupy Communities In Niger

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Niger State Governor,Sani Bello


By; BALA B. BITRUS, Minna


No fewer than five District Heads their wards and village Heads in Shiroro Council Area of Niger State have fled their thrones following reign of terror by armed bandits across communities in Rafi and Shiroro council areas.
For over a week running, armed bandits have unleashed reigned terror and sacked the rural communities of Magami, Magani, Maganda, Gurmana, Kurebe, Alawa, Kokoki, Madaka and killed over a dozen villages in cold blood.
Last Monday, eight villagers were killed at Kokoki village by armed bandits and a day later, the band of armed marauders attacked Magami and Gurmana villages where they killed four persons during an early morning raid.
All the traditional rulers of the rural communities of the six districts have fled their domains as armed bandits repeated reign of terror.
Victims said the armed bandits come riding motorcycles with each cyclist carrying two or three armed men who shoot in all directions as they beat their ways into homes.
At Kokoki and Gurmana villages, the bandits carted away herds of cattle and rams. The marauders also stole cash stocked by the villagers in their homes as well as assorted food stuff. They set ablaze homes as the owners scampered away in fear.
District Heads of Gurmana and Manta, Aliyu Umar and Mohammed Labaran separately narrated their ordeals while pleading with the state government to send security men to end the occupation by the armed bandits in their domains.
District Head of Manta, Mohammed Labara who spoke on behalf of his colleagues while addressing the Secretary to Niger State Government, (SSG) Ibrahim Matane, said the tens of communities have been sacked by the ravaging armed bandits and homes raised down by the bandits who also kidnapped and raped women and young girls.
He disclosed that about 3,000 herds of cattle have been rustled by the bandits who strike at will as they raid one village after an other without restraint.
Meanwhile Governor Abubakar Sani Bello has revealed that both air and land surveillances by security personnel have been ordered to the troubled areas to flush out the bandits terrorizing the communities.
In its response to the spate of recent attacks, killings and arson by armed bandits in communities of Rafi and Shiroro council areas, governor Sani Bello said joint security onslaughts were underway to end the reign of terror by the armed bandits across the communities.
A press statement by the governor’s spokesperson, Mary Noel Barje, it quoted the governor as saying that the state government was supporting a joint security taskforce which has been saddled to chase the armed bandits out of the state.
The governor according to the statement appealed to the affected communities to cooperate with the security agencies posted to the areas by providing credible intelligence that could assist in showing the locations and hideout camps of the bandits.
The state government had few months back entered into a truce with a so called leaders of the armed bandits to cease fire, kidnapping and killing of citizens.
Competent feelers closed to the seat of power in the state said each of the bandits was given N2 million each and all the bandit hitherto nabbed by security agencies were released as part of the bargain.
However, despite the truce which was consummated at Mariga, dare devil activities of armed bandits have not abated.
Hundreds of the sacked villagers are quartered in Kuta and Kagara in settler camps.
All the District and village Heads in the affected communities according to findings by our correspondents, have since fled their domains following repeated phone calls by armed bandits who have been threatening to kill them.

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