Bandits, on Thursday, raided the Sabon Rafinsanyin area of Suleja Town, in Niger State at about 2.30am, killing one person and kidnapping 11 others.
The Suleja incident came simultaneously with the raids on some communities in Munya local government of the state, which has been one of the epicentre of bandits’ attacks in the last couple of months, just as the Niger State Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello, has cried out that bandits were extending their activities to other parts of the state, particularly, the Niger North Senatorial zone
In a related development, suspected herdsmen on saturday attacked Tse Ancha, a community in Makurdi Local Government area of Benue State, killing eight persons and injuring many others.
However, in Niger, the man killed at new Rafinsanyin was identified as Nicholas while his wife and sister in-law, who were staying in the same residence with him were kidnapped.
A staff of the NNPC, whose name was given as Usman Mohammed, a yet-to-be identified staff of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps NSCDC were also among those kidnapped.
According to a reliable source within the government, others kidnapped were the sister of the NNPC staff simply called Farina, Mr. Ishola, Mr. Baba Daniel and his brother.
The bandits, who were many and heavily armed were said to have raided the new Suleja layout moving from house to house to kidnap their victims and disposses them of their valuables.
“They were all herded into a bus and taken to unknown destination” the eyewitness further told THISDAY, saying there was panic among other residents, who were helpless, because no security people came to their aid.
THISDAY further learnt that bandits again raided some villages in the Munya Local Government Area of the state, killing two men suspected to be insane.
One person was reported to have been shot and was admitted at the Sarkin-Pawa general hospital for treatment.
These particular raids were said to have taken place between Wednesday and Thursday in broad day light.
An eyewitness told THISDAY that some of the villages raided included Kuchi, Guni and Chibane.
It was learnt that the bandits moved in large numbers and bore sophisticated weapons .
“They moved from vilage to village rustling cattle and taking away the property of villagers” anothereyewitness said but could not explain why the mentally derailed persons were killed, because the bandits were largely after rustling of cattle and dispossesing people of their valuable items
“They (Bandits) must have thought the insane men were normal human being and could attack them,” a different eyewitness said.
Shiroro and Munya Local Governments are among two areas where the military began bandits clearance operation last week resulting in those displaced returning to the communities.
Armed soldiers in several trucks were transported to the area on the orders of the new GOC of the I Mechanized Division of the Nigerian Army Kaduna, Major General Hamisu Ali-Keffi for the assault on the bandits.
The Police have not confirmed these incidents, because the Public Relations Officer of the Niger State Police Command, DSP Wasiu Abiodun did not respond to calls made to him afterwards.
Speaking after attending the burial of Bashar Saidu Namaska, son of the Sarkin Sudan of Kontagora,Alhaji Saidu Namaska on Friday, Bello said bandits, who were being dislodged from some communities in the Niger East Senatorial zone of the state had started moving into the hinterlands of the Niger North Senatorial zone to carryout their deadly activities.
The Sardauna Kontagora and three others were killed by bandits on his father’s farm at Masuga on the Kontagora – Rijau road on Wednesday evening.
Bello lamented that while efforts were ongoing to tackle the activities of bandits in Munyan and Shiroro Local Government Areas, the bandits had decided to move into the hinter land of zone C to perpetrate their evil acts and therefore reemphasised the need for the security architecture of the state to be strenghtened.
He said the rate at which banditry were thriving in the state and country as a whole called for every Nigerian to reflect, even as government continued to ensure that it supported the Vigilante, not minding the state’s lean resources, which is now being diverted to security issues.
“The situation on ground at the moment calls for every Nigerian to reflect, think and wake up to do the needful. We shouldn’t politicise matters, and particularly security matters,” he said.
According to him, armed bandits do not differentiate or carry out their nefarious activities along party or ethno-religious divide, hence the need for collective efforts in the fight against banditry, saying also that everyone should stand up to his or her responsibility in what ever capacity to bring the evil act of banditry to an end.
Bello, after the interment, paid a condolence visit to the Sarkin Sudan Kontagora, where he described the deceased son as “a close ally whose services will be missed by the emirate and the state”
He also described the circumstances surrounding his death as “Most unfortunate” and charged the monarch to take the incident as an act of God.
Meanwhile, suspected herdsmen on saturday attacked Tse Ancha, a community in Makurdi Local Government area killing eight persons, in a fresh attack that came less than a month after seven people were killed at the Abagena IDP camp in Makurdi.
Following the attack, the Executive Chairman of Makurdi Local Government Council, Hon Anthony Dyegeh, visited the scene of the attack for an on-the-spot assessment and evacuation of corpses and the injured to the hospital.
Dyegeh condemned the attacks on innoncent people of Benue State and called on various security agencies to stand up to their duties of securing the lives and properties of the citizens of the state.
The Chairman confirmed a total of eight deaths, seven men and a woman while five were badly injured and had been taken to the Benue State University Teaching Hospital, Makurdi.
Also, Special Adviser to the Governor on Security matters, Colonel Paul Hembah, who accompanied the chairman to the scene, called the people to stop relying on federal security alone but stand up to defend themselves and their Lands.
He extended Governor Samuel Ortom’s condolences to the people and prayed for peace to return in the state.
However, at the scene of the attack, an ATM Card bearing Audullahi Sabo with life and empty bullets were recovered.