After what appears as a lull in their murderous activities during the general elections and cash crunch that hit the country, bandits and gunmen are back to their criminal acts.
Yesterday, they unleashed mayhem in at least five states, including Niger, Kaduna, Kogi, Adamawa, and Bayelsa, killing scores of people and kidnapping no fewer than 34 people, including two police officers. They also carted away arms and ammunition.
Seven days after killing seven people and abducting 26 persons, bandits on Sunday evening invaded Mashegu Local Government Area of Niger State.
This time, they killed two villagers and kidnapped two policemen and no fewer than 32 villagers.
The bandits were said to have gone straight to Ibbi Police station in Mashegu, attacked those on duty, and whisked away two of the Policemen.
After sacking the Policemen on duty, the bandits were said to have ransacked the armory in the station and carted away some arms and ammunition.
A dependable source from the area told Vanguard that no fewer than 32 persons were abducted from different villages in the community. All the abducted villagers were taken into the Ibbi forest.
“This incident happened about 24 hours after an unidentified aircraft hovered around the community and the police station. Some of the areas raided include Ibbi and Mazakuka towns.
‘’Statistics show that 15 of those abducted are from Mazakuka town, while nine are from Ibbi town and all of them, including the policemen abducted, were led into the forest and they are yet to be traced till now,” the source revealed.
The local vigilantes from Mokwa and New Bussa trailed the bandits into the forest and engaged them in a gun battle that lasted for hours.
Unfortunately, the commander of the vigilante was killed by the bandits and some of the bandits were also reported to have been killed by the vigilante members.
The remains of the commander had been taken to his village and buried.
All efforts to reach the Commissioner for Internal Security and Humanitarian Affairs, Mr. Emmanuel Umar, proved abortive, just as the spokesman of the State Police Command, DSP Wasiu Abiodun, could not be reached on his telephone line.
Chairman of Mashegu LGA, Alhaji Umar Igede, had cried out over incessant attacks on the local government in the past two months and called on the government to come to their rescue as the villagers are fleeing their ancestral homes to take refuge in the Internal Displaced Peoples Camps (IDP) thereby increasing the population of the camp geometrically.
How gunmen killed APC ward chairman, others in Kogi
In Kogi, gunmen on Saturday stormed the Oganenugu community in Dekina LGA and killed scores of villagers.
The gunmen were said to have entered the village in the dead hours of the night and started shooting at everyone in sight.
The ward chairman of All Progressive Congress, APC, Mr. James Adah, was among those shot dead.
Governor Bello mourns, vows not to surrender to gunmen
Reacting to the development, Governor, Yahaya Bello called for calm over the attacks on communities in the Oganenugu Ward of Dekina LGA by suspected herdsmen.
Describing the attacks as “vile and satanic” the governor said the attacks were “calculated assault on the peace-loving people of Oganenugu who have enjoyed relative peace and security.”
Bello said his administration would continue to phase out crisis entrepreneurs from the state and ensure that those involved shall be brought to book under the laws.
He said the attacks were shocking, and that the “government will never bow to the machinations of heartless elements in its resolves to rid the state of criminals.”
He commiserated with the people, particularly the families of James Adah and others affected by the “ugly and unfortunate attacks.”
Governor Bello advised the people not to take laws into their hands as security agencies had been deployed to the troubled areas to ensure safety and restore normalcy.
Rep decries slow response of security operatives
Meanwhile, the member representing Yagba Federal Constituency of Kogi State and Chairman House of Representatives Committee on Customs and Excise, Elder Leke Abejide, expressed displeasure over the herdsmen attack on the people of Oganenigwu
Abejide, a front-line governorship aspirant on the platform of the African Democratic Congress, ADC, said he was saddened over the “satanic attack” on the people of Edede, Aloko, Ojapata, and other communities in Oganeniugu which led to the loss of lives and burning of properties in the area.
Commiserating with the people, he said: “This is the reason I’m clamoring for local government to be given full autonomy to be able to secure their environment and know who are within the community and more importantly, those living within their farms and forests.
“If the resources are with them, they should have an adequate number of those in town, bushes, farms, and forests via a local census to determine immigrants into the communities and farms, with the help of traditional rulers and chiefs.
‘’They will issue permits and modes of operation within their domain on how to live in peace both within and outside the community.
“Whoever breaches the agreement will know there is a problem for him or her and this can be perfected with the state government.
“I urge the state government to fish out the perpetrators, at least to give a bit of comfort to the families of the bereaved.”
Suspected assassins kill construction worker in Bayelsa
In Bayelsa, suspected assassins reportedly killed a construction worker, identified as Wale, and dumped his corpse along Gloryland Drive on the outskirts of Yenagoa, the state capital.
The body of the deceased, a resident of the Akenpai suburb of Yenagoa, was said to have been found on Saturday.
Sources told Vanguard that the late Wale was ambushed by his assailants, on Friday night, on his way home, along School Road, Akenpai, and was ordered to drive them in his car to an unknown destination.
It was learned that the deceased had earlier called his wife to inform her that he was on his way home but failed to turn up. The lifeless body of the late Wale was spotted, Saturday morning along the usually quiet Gloryland Drive expressway by passersby.
The victim was said to have been shot in the head with his arms tied to his back.
Contacted, the state Police Public Relations Officer PPRO, Asinim Butswat, confirmed the development.
He said: “We are suspecting the murder is cult-related. The deceased has been identified as one Wale with a surname unknown. The corpse has been evacuated to the mortuary for autopsy. An investigation is ongoing.”
Two killed in Kaduna violence
In Kaduna, a 24-hour curfew has been imposed by the state government in the Sabon Garin Nasarawa-Tirkaniya area of Chikun LGA to restore order in the area, following clashes among local armed gangs that claimed two lives.
In a terse statement yesterday, the Commissioner for the Ministry of Internal Security and Home Affairs, Mr. Samuel Aruwan, said: “The Kaduna State Government hereby announces the immediate imposition of a 24-hour curfew on Sabon Garin Nassarawa-Tirkaniya area of Chikun LGA.
“This decision was reached following a breakdown of law and order which led to the killing of two citizens in an incident of urban gang violence.
“Security agencies have been directed to enforce the curfew in the said location, to restore order as investigations proceed. Citizens are therefore urged to strictly observe the curfew in this location, which takes effect immediately.”
Also, the state government after a thorough appraisal of the security situation by the military, police, and Department of State Services, DSS, as well as an emergency meeting with traditional and religious leaders of the area at the 312 Artillery Regiment, Kaduna, banned social activities in the area.
Aruwan said: “The social activities observed in the community, which are now prohibited with immediate effect are listed as follows: Kidan Bishi, Kidan Gala, and Hunting expeditions .”
“The government has also directed the arrest of anyone linked with the peddling of hard drugs in Nasarawa and Sabon Garin Nasarawa.