Uncertainty Looms over Peace Deal as Bandits Sack 1,580 Villagers in Niger

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Laleye Dipo in Minna

The is uncertainty on the fate of the peace deal entered into by the Niger State Government and bandits about three weeks ago as over 1,580 villagers were sacked from their ancestral homes by bandits on Wednesday night.

The state government had under the peace deal released 13 bandits while 35 others laid down their arms, as the state government also promised to resettle the repentant bandits.

However, it was gathered that operating under the cover of darkness, the bandits, riding on motorcycles, invaded the Jaramaya village near Allawa in the Shiroro Local Government Area, sacking the villagers from their homes.

Though it was gathered that no life was lost in the invasion, the villagers were reported to have fled to Allawa, the headquarters of the district for their safety.

“Other communities in the district-Batorun Jatau, Bataron Waziri-were also attacked and sacked,” an eyewitness told THISDAY in Minna yesterday.

The bandits were said to have dispossessed the villagers of valuable items, including harvested crops, it was further gathered.

The District Head of Allawa, Alhaji Ibrahim Salihu, confirmed the incident in a telephone interview, saying those displaced are now in Allawa town.

Salihu pleaded with the state government and security agencies to come to the aids of his people by sending armed security men to the area.

However, the state police said they were yet to be informed of the incident.

The Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Alhaji Ibrahim Ahmed Matane, who coordinated the peace deal, could not be reached for comment.

However the Chief Press Secretary to the state Governor, Mary Noel Berje, confirmed the incident, saying the Joint Military Task Force in the state, which includes air surveillance team of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF), has been dispatched to the troubled communities to dislodge the bandits from their hideouts.