From John Adams In Minna
Barely 24 hours after Niger State governor, Alh. Abubakar Sani Bello, asked security agents to launch a full-scale war against gunmen in the state after the killing of 37 people in Nakunda and Wurukuchi in Shiroro Local Government last week, the gunmen have replied him with major attacks on some communities in Kontagora and Mashegun LGAs of the state, killing three and abducting 28 others.
The governor, while reacting to the killings last week, said it was time to launch 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 LGA, the governor’s LGA , and Kulho, Jigawa, Dogo Fadama communities in Mashegu LGA.
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, a few kilometers from Kontagora, the headquarters of Kontagora LGA, 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.
Vice-chairman of Kontagora LGA, Mr. Aliyu Makiga, who confirmed the attack in Farin Shinge, said that gunmen came through the Tegina route in their large numbers, adding that the security operatives tried to foil the attack, but met a 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 a ransom of seven numbers 50 litres jerry can of petrol, 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 in the process rustled a large number of cattle .
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 the 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, 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 spoke to Daily Sun on telephone , said 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 atleast 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 Alhaji Tanko was shot dead by the gunmen. The operation started around 3.48 pm and they left Kulho at around 6.07 p.m.
“Many people were abducted. Six of my family members were abducted; 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 from my family were taken”.
The State Public Relation Officer, DSP Wasiu Abiodun,however, confirmed the attack in jigawa, Kulko area in Mashegun LGA, saying that 15 people were abducted by gunmen
According to Abiodun, the gunmen rustled unspecified numbers of cattle during the attack.
He stated further that the gunmen broke into shops in another village, Kawo and went away with goods, adding that, “a team of policemen and local vigilantes have been detailed to the area for search and rescue of the abducted victims”