By; BALA B. BITRUS, Minna
It was another gloomy weekend as heartless armed bandits struck Gurmana, one of the wards in the pauperised and fear stricken Shiroro Council Area of Niger State.
The armed bandits abducted scores of victims mostly women and shot dead a few unlucky persons while small children, all of them believed to be under ten years got drown as they attempted to flee from the attackers in their village.
Survivors of the banditry attack said the criminal bandits stormed the village on the weekend market day of the village shooting sporadically in to the air as the locals scurried in fear and confusion.
In the pandemonium which ensued, the bandits shot dead some persons, injured several others and took several others into captivity.
As the bandits ransacked the village, some young children took to their heels and ran towards the river on the fringes of the village.
While the bandits continued shooting sporadically, the children plunged into the river which is a major tributary of the Kaduna river.
Only a handful were able to swim ashore while no fewer than fifteen of them were still unaccounted for and are believed to have been drowned in the river.
As at Sunday, local divers had recovered the bodies of fifteen young children even as search was ongoing in the early hours of Monday.
The attack on the village came on the heels of the intervention by the Kaduna based international Islamic scholar, Sheik Dr. Ahmed Muhammad Gumi who, along with other notable Islamic scholars from Jos, Plateau and Kaduna states had arrived Minna, the Niger state capital to discuss with the armed bandits in their hideouts between Mariga and Mashegu councils.
The Islamic scholars are discussing with the leadership of the bandits to let go the Government Science Secondary School boys and staffers of the college abducted by some armed bandits last Wednesday morning.
Gurmana village and other villages in Shiroro council area as well as hundreds of villages and communities in neighbouring Munya, Rafi, Paikoro, Mariga council areas have come under several attacks by armed bandits in the past five years.
The weekend attack on Gurmana lasted for several hours unhindered as the bandits carted away bags of assorted foodstuff, fuel in jerricans, clothing, money and other sundry valuables.
Several territories across Niger state have been under siege by criminal armed bandits.