Laleye Dipo in Minna
Women and children are reportedly moving out of communities in the Munya Local Government Area of Niger State following last Sunday’s attack on their villages during which an army officer, three soldiers and some civilians were killed.
It is also said that the bandits have been stranded in the area following lack of petrol to power their motorcycles and ignorance of access road out of the communities, sending fears into the villagers.
THISDAY learnt that the women and children in large numbers were seen carrying their luggage on their heads, their little children on their backs while some held the older ones as they move to safer grounds.
Reports also have it that the villagers were escaping to Sabo Kabula, Tsohon Kabula, Luwi, Rufogo, Mudungo, Beni and Toko.
A youth leader told THISDAY that the men were left behind to protect their properties and “dare the consequences.”
“The bandits who are said to be over 30 in number are currently moving from one location to the other looking for a safe exit from the communities as they feared that their entry route may no longer be safe for them,” the youth leader added.
He said the stranded bandits are soliciting for the assistance of the villagers on how to exit the areas but the villagers directed them to the Zagzaga route which the insurgents declined to follow because of the presence of soldiers in the area.
According to him, “The bandits have also run out of fuel to power their motorcycles and food, and have therefore shared themselves into three groups with some in new Kabula and Mangoro communities.
“The bandits are looking for food and fuel; they are in the bush, and have separated themselves into three groups. They are all strangers because they don’t know where to go and how to get out of the communities, that is why they want the people to show them where to follow.
“They refused to follow all the routes shown to them. So right now I can tell you that they are stranded. If the military can move in now, they will capture them,” our source said.
The bandits, source said looked exhausted after hours of moving around in the bush, and are now begging the communities for food and fuel.
However, reports have it that some of the bandits took over an entire community where they were seen cooking food seized from the villagers without any molestation or harassment.
The Niger State Emergency Management Agency (NSEMA) has visited the scene of last Sundays attack to ascertain the extent of casualties and the plight of the people.
The agency, however, refused to issue a statement until after the state Governor, Abubakar Sani Bello, must have been briefed.
It was also gathered that the remains of the slain soldiers were brought to Minna in an army ambulance around 8:00 p.m. last Sunday.