Laleye Dipo in Minna
Suspected bandits at the weekend killed a policeman and seven members of a local security operative in Rafi Local Government Area of Niger State.
A top police source told THISDAY on Saturday in Minna, the state capital, that the slain policeman was a “constable” but did not disclose his name.
The bandits were said to have rustled several heads of cattle from Kusherki village and were escaping with the animals when the incident occurred.
“The policeman and local vigilante raced after the bandits in order to rescue the animals from them,” the source said.
However, another group of the bandits ambushed the policeman and the local security men and killed them.
“One or two of the bandits were injured but the others after the battle returned to take the injured into their enclave.
“We traced the blood of the injured bandits to a spot but we had to retreat for fear of another possible ambush,” it was gathered.
The Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Muhammad Abubakar, when contacted, confirmed the story, saying that the remains of the slain policeman and local security men have been deposited at the Kagara General Hospital mortuary.
“We have mobilised more men to the area to secure the lives and property of the people,” Abubakar said.
The recent incident may have signalled the collapse of the peace initiatives between the state government, security operatives on the one hand and the bandits on the other.
The government had negotiated a peace deal with the bandits in the area, leading to about 23 of them promising to toe the line of peace by stopping attacks on innocent members of the public.
The Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Ahmed Ibrahim Matane, at a recent public function attended by a former Head of State, Gen. Abdusalami Abubakar, disclosed the action of the government.