By; BALA B. BITRUS, Minna
Over a dozen Fulani armed bandits who stormed Fapo, a sleepy village in Gulu, Lapai Council Area of Niger State in the early hours of Monday, met a huge surprise as the village’s men of the vigilante corps rose to the challenge.
The bandits had struck in the wee hours of the night and stormed Fapo community swiftly as they fired relentlessly.
However, brave members of the community’s vigilante corp responded ferociously, giving the invaders a good fight.
In the resultant cross fire, four of the invaders laid wasted on the ground after nearly forty minutes of gun battles between the locals and the invading criminal armed bandits.
Sensing danger, the remaining band of the invaders began to beat a retreat but the locals surged forward after them, forcing them out to the edge of the community.
And as sounds of gunshot and pandemonium continued, more members of the community were woken up and they joined the vigilante to round up the unwanted visitors.
Four of the invaders were overpowered and rounded up, one after another. While the remaining members of the gang fled out of the community into the bushes even as the villagers gave them a hot chase.
At the end of the showdown, four of the invaders, mostly young men in their twenties were fallen. Four others were captured alive as the rest scurried out.
Members of the local corp of vigilante in parts of the state have proved very effective in fighting armed bandits than conventional forces from establishments even though they often record casualties too.
Leadership of the armed bandits in the state who during negotiations with intervener, Sheikh Dr. Ahmed Gumi, have been calling for the dissolution and disbanding of the state’s corp of vigilante.
In one of such round tables with the leadership of the Fulanis, some of the ring leaders of the armed bandits singled out local vigilante members as their sworn enemies.
Last week, the state governor, Abubakar Sani Bello met with the leadership of the corp of vigilante at Mariga area where he commended them for standing up against the armed bandits.
The governor had earlier promised to procure pump action rifles for members of the corp to empower them to fight against criminal armed bandits operating in the state.
Last week, the commander of the corp in the state, Nasiru Mohammed Manta had, during a radio programme monitored by our correspondent in the state, boasted that his men would bring armed banditry to an end in ninety days if government give them needed support.
Meanwhile, more communities across the state are coming under rapid siege by armed bandits on near daily basis even as unsubstantiated reports from Nupe speaking areas of the state suggests that armed bandits who dared the areas were being killed in droves by locals who used voodoo powers to round up the bandits as it may have been the case at Fapo during the invasion by the bandits.