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Four Feared Dead, 21 Reportedly Abducted By Bandits In Niger

Four Feared Dead, 21 Reportedly Abducted By Bandits In Niger At least four persons are feared dead in a fresh attack by bandits on Beni community in Munya local government area of Niger State. Although when contacted on the telephone the Police Public Relations Officer in the state DSP Abubakar Dan-Inna said the command was yet to receive reports on the attacks, locals said the attack occurred early hours of Wednesday. This attack comes days after bandits ambushed and killed a military captain and four other military officers in the same local government area. The bandits were also reported to have abducted the Chief Imam of Beni Central mosque, Mallam Umar Mohammed who was said to be on his way for a naming ceremony that morning. 20 other members of the community were also kidnapped by the gunmen. The District Head of Beni, Alhaji Jafaru Umar Sarki, who confirmed the attacks to Channels Television, said the bandits, numbering over 50 went from house to house, forcefully dispossessing the people of their valuables including cattle. He also said no fewer than four persons were killed while several others sustained varying degrees of gunshot injuries and are currently receiving treatment at the Kafin Koro General Hospital. “They came three days ago and stole over 200 cows from Fulani men, and this morning, they came again in their numbers. So far four people have been killed, they shot another boy in the head and we don’t know if he will survive. They are so many in numbers; I can’t count them and they all had guns,” Sarki said. He expressed displeasure over the lack of response by security agencies in the state to the plights of the people. According to him, “The unfortunate thing is that we informed the security agents about it after the first attack but up till now nobody came to our rescue. What is the essence of security if people’s lives and property are not safe. This community is under siege at the moment and we are helpless.” On Tuesday, the Director-General of the State Emergency Management Agency, Ahmed Inga who visited the area to present relief materials to some of the affected communities, disclosed that over 2,500 persons are currently displaced from their homes as a result of banditry attacks. At least more than fifty persons have so far been killed by bandits since the renewed attack by bandits in Shiroro, Munya and Rafi local government areas of the state. Earlier Wednesday, Governor Abubakar Bello in a press statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary Mary Barje urged security agencies in the state to come up with a fresh, holistic approach to tackling the menace. According to the governor, “the bandits may have crossed the river from Kaduna and came to launch an attack in Munya” adding that, “the issue of insecurity is a collective battle which must not be left to the security agencies and government alone.” Also, the Senator representing Niger East Senatorial district where the bandits have been operating, Sani Musa called on President Muhammadu Buhari to give an executive order to the military and the police to deploy their troops to the area to flush out the bandits. According to him, the attacks have stalled development in the area and also brought untold hardship on the locals who are predominantly farmers but cannot farm because of the incessant attacks by the gunmen. “Something has to be done fast to avoid the situation from deteriorating. Most of the bandits are those fleeing Zamfara and Kaduna states where there are intense military operations. I am calling on the Governors of Kaduna and Zamfara two join hands together with our own governor to see how they can tackle the problem once and for all,” Senator Musa advised. With the Supreme Court’s ruling that finally laid to rest the election petitions challenging the victory of Governor Abubakar Bello in the 2019 elections, perhaps one can say that the coast is now clear for him to chart a way out of the security challenges and other issues militating against the growth of Niger state.