Chinwendu Nnadozie, Victor Gai
Minna / Jalingo – Armed bandits continued their attacks on villagers in Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State on Thursday as the death toll increased to 70.
Eight more villages were affected while the number of displaced persons has risen to over 1, 000.
The attack started in the wee hours of Sunday and has now spread as the bandits continued their indiscriminate killing of innocent villagers.
Daily Independent gathered that apart from the several injured people who were rushed to nearby rural health facilities in Kuta, Erena and Zumba, many of the displaced villagers are taking refuge in seven internally displaced persons (IDPs) camps in the area.
Information made available to journalists by the senator representing Niger-East, David Umaru, in whose constituency there have been attacks, indicated that no fewer than 19 persons died in the past six days in Kwaki village, 14 in Barden Dawaki village.
Daily Independent also learnt that eight persons died in Ajatawyi village, seven in Gwassa, five in Ajayin Bataro, four others in Bwailo, three in Baton village and two reported in Giji village.
Over 800 herds of cattle belonging to the villagers had been rustled in the same space of time.
When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Niger State command, DSP Mohammed Abubakar Dan-Inna, said the police could only confirm 12 people so far dead in the attack, adding, however, that more security personnel had been deployed to the troubled area.
Meanwhile, Senator David Umaru has appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to come to the rescue of his people in Shiroro, Niger East Senatorial District, who were at the mercy of the rampaging bandits.
He said the president should order the deployment of more security personnel to the area.
Asking for the relocation of security chiefs to the area to immediately curtail the carnage wouldn’t be too much, he said.
“I am in pains and sorrow over the killing of my people by armed bandits who have taken over our communities in the past few days.
“It is horrible that over 69 people have been killed and 1000 displaced and yet there is no respite for the good people of my constituency,” he lamented, adding that it had become apparent that the situation was beyond the capacity of the police.
He said: “I am appealing to President Muhammadu Buhari to order the military into the area to stop the armed bandits who have continued their onslaught unhindered and unabated.
“I am also calling on the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 1 Div of the Nigerian Army, Kaduna, to deploy more personnel to save the unarmed villagers from the onslaught of the armed bandits.”
Umaru stressed the need for the state government to provide adequate logistics to enable the security agencies crush the bandits.
Gunmen Kidnap Taraba NLC Chairman’s Wife, Neighbour In Jalingo
Meanwhile, one Abigail Gambo, wife of Peter Gambo, the chairman, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Taraba State, has been kidnapped alongside the owner of Our Nation Bakery, Emeka Okoronkwo.
The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) in the state, David Misal (DSP), confirmed the incident to journalists in Jalingo.
Misal said the victims were abducted in their houses in Magami area of Jalingo, the state capital, at about 1:00a.m on Thursday.
“It is confirmed that two people were kidnapped and one injured by gunmen in the early hours of Thursday in Jalingo,” he said.
Gambo, whose wife was kidnapped, confirmed the incident and said it was a thing of shock to him as they all scampered for safety.
According to him, “They whisked my wife away to an unknown destination after shooting sporadically in the compound.”
Gambo explained that he had made a written submission to the police on the incident, saying the kidnappers were yet to contact him for ransom.
He also confirmed that Okoronkwo, the owner of Our Nation Bakery, who was his neighbour, was kidnapped.
Daily Independent gathered that Okoronkwo’s gateman was shot on the leg and was currently receiving treatment at the Federal Medical Centre, Jalingo.
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