Laleye Dipo in Minna
Several villages have been deserted as bandits raided Shiroro and Rafi Local Governments Areas in Niger State and killed at least six people.
The incident occurred between 10p.m. on Tuesday and 12 noon yesterday.
THISDAY gathered that five people were killed while another five people were injured in Shiroro Local Government Area (SLGA). The bandits also left one person killed and several others injured in Madaka community in Rafi Local Government Area (RLGA).
The attack in Manta town of SLGA was allegedly carried out by 50 heavily armed gun wielding bandits that invaded the town on motorcycles.
It was learnt that on their arrival at Manta community, the bandits surrounded the town and made it difficult for the villagers to escape.
Local vigilantes, according to sources, tried to dislodge the rampaging bandits but abandoned the chase when they noticed that a helicopter was hovering in the area.
“We beat a retreat when we saw the helicopter because we were afraid that they may mistake us for the bandits and bomb us,” an eyewitness said
THISDAY learnt that more than 600 hundred people, mostly women and children, have been displaced from Manta community and are currently taking refuge at Bosso Primary School, near Minna, the state capital.
The chairmen of Shiroro and Bosso local governments and the Director General of Niger State Emergency Management Agency (NSEMA), Mr. Ibrahim Inga, were trying frantically to manage the situation at the temporary camp when THISDAY visted.
This was the second of such attacks in the local governments within four days. The first was on Easter Sunday when the bandits attacked Maikujeri and two other communities in the RLGA, leaving three people dead while a young girl was raped and an injured pastor hospitalised.
Thirteen people were also alleged to have been kidnapped in the that attack.
The Nigeria Air force (NAF) claimed that it had been raiding and killing the bandits in the two local governments.
The Senator Representing Niger East Senatorial Zone, Mr. Mohammed Sani Musa, has condemned the recent attacks on his people and described the incidents as “callous and wicked.”
Musa pleaded with the security agencies to be more alive to their responsibility so that “my people will again live normal lives.”
The Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Wasiu Abiodun, could not be reached for comment on the issue.