From John Adams In Minna
With barely 24 hours after Niger state Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello asked security agents to lunch a full-scale war against gunmen in the state after the killing of 37 people in Nakundna and Wurukuchi in Shiroro local government last week, the gunmen have replied the Governor with a major attack on some communities in Kontagora and Mashegun local government areas of the state, killing three and abducting 28 others.
The Governor, while reacting to the mass killings last week, said it was time to lunch a major offensive against terrorists in the state, describing the massacre of 37 villagers as “insane and barbaric”.
The latest attacks occurred in Farin-Shinge in Kontagora local government, a home local government of the Governor, and Kulho, Jigawa, Dogo Fadama communities in Mashegu local government area of the state.
It was gathered that the gunmen were said to have carried out the onslaught on the communities between Friday afternoon and Saturday morning.
According to our source, In Farin-Shinge community, some few kilometers from Kontagora, the headquarters of Kontagora local government, the gunmen struck at about 1.45 pm when the people were about to observe the jummaat (Friday prayers) and abducted eight people as the worshippers scramble for safety.
The Vice-Chairman of Kontagora local government area, Aliyu Makiga who confirmed the attack in Farin Shinge, said that the gunmen came through the Tegina route in their large number, adding that the security operatives tried to foil the attack but met stiff resistance from the well-equipped gunmen.
According to him, “They kidnapped a lot of people but some were set free when their motorcycles could not carry all of them and others are still with them.
“They are demanding for a ransom of seven numbers 50 litres jerrican of petrol, Viju Milk and other drinks, including Provisions. They are yet to make any monetary demand”, he said.
Also another group of gunmen attacked Jigawa, Dogo Fadama and surrounding communities killing two people while four others were abducted.
A resident of Jigawa community, Umar Mohammed confirmed the invasion, saying that the gunmen took their time as they conducted house to house search and rustled a large number of cattle in the process.
He said that the attack which also occurred on Friday, took the community unaware but majority of the residents managed to escape as they ran into the bush before they (gunmen) arrived.
The operation, they said began at about 3.30 pm and lasted till about 6 :00pm with no help coming from anywhere despite several distress calls put across to security agents.
A source close to Kulho community said one victim identified as Alhaji Tanko Kulho was shot dead and 16 people were abducted, adding that Shops were ransacked and over 18 motorcycles were stolen by the invaders.
A resident of Kulho, Abdulrahman Kulho Adamu who confirmed the attack on telephone to our correspondent, said that six of his family members including his three elder brothers were among those abducted.
“We were all seated at the market square when we saw many motorcycles carrying at least three people each, and well armed with AK 47 riffles arrived the community, and before we knew what was happening they began to shot sporadically into air.
“People began to run and in the process one Alhaji Tanko was shot dead by the gunmen. The operation started around 3.48 pm and they left Kulho at around 6.07 pm”, he disclosed
Speaking further, he said “Many people were abducted. Six of my family members were abducted, they include my elder brothers Yakubu Kulho, Gambo Kulho, Haruna Nda kulho, my younger brother, Baba Nda Karami, my nephew, Mohammed Gaddafi and my elder brother’s wife, Salaha Haruna Kulho. Six of them in my family were taken”.