From John Adams, Minna
Barely three days after bandits abducted 21 passengers of a Niger State Transport Authority (NSTA) along Minna-Zungeru road, gunmen, yesterday, killed no fewer than 10 persons, among them a District Head and nine vigilantes across two local government areas.
District Head of Kusherki in Rafi local government area Alhaji Masud Abubakar, village head of Kusherki in Rafi local government, was one of those killed while his wife was abducted in what observers described as daring broad daylight raid.
This was confirmed by the state government.
The raid, according to sources, started at about 12.30pm and continued till around 2.00pm. Report had it that the bandits numbering over 50 rode on motorcycles and operated with sophisticated weapons including AK47 rifle.
Multiple witnesses said the bandits started from Kasuwe village and moved to other villages killing and maiming villagers. The bandits also dispossed the villagers of food items and other valuables.
It was gathered that while the invasion was on a helicopter hovered in the air allegedly giving the bandits protection.
Another set of bandits, according to the report, also blocked the major highway leading to Minna from Sarkin Pawa leaving motorists to scramble for their safety.
Secretary to the Local Government Council, Mr. James Isaac Jagaba, confirmed the story but said “I cannot give you details. My vigilantee corps members are still battling with the bandits I am yet to get a report from them.”
Government statement which confirmed the Kusherki incident did not say when it happened but lamented that the increasing activities of kidnappers and bandits in the state was becoming a nightmare to the people.
The statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mary Noel Berje, described the situation “as callous and regrettable” adding that “the murder of the traditional title holder is a challenge to the security agencies to intensify their search to ‘fish-out’ and ensure that the perpetrators of such heinous acts are brought to justice”
“The situation, particularly in the last 72 hours, has become regrettably alarming! While efforts are ongoing to secure the release of the abducted NSTA passengers, we heard that of Kusherki and other areas. We are witnessing these attacks now, almost, on daily basis and it is worrisome”, the governor said in the statement.
The statement therefore seek more of Federal Government’s intervention to tackle the rampaging menace noting that “banditry is becoming a situation of war in the state”, hence the need for a fresh, sustainable and multidimensional strategy that will neutralise both the bandits and their informants.