Dipo Laleye in Minna and John Shiklam in Kaduna
Seven persons were at the weekend killed in Kaduna and Niger States by gunmen.
While the gunmen stormed Madaka village in Rafi Local Government Area of Niger State, killing at least three people, four were confirmed killed in another reprisal attack in Zango Kataf Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
The Chief of Staff to the Chairman of Rafi Local Government Area, Mohammed Mohammed, said those killed were the leader of the vigilante group in Madaka, Isyaku Alhassan, his son Abdulhamid Isyaku and one other person whose name is yet to be ascertained as at the time of filing this report.
Also the village Head of Madaka, Alhaji Zakari Ya’u was said to have been abducted a second time.
He only released recently after being held hostage for over three months in the hands of the bandits.
Mohammed said that the report he got indicated that the bandits who were camping in a village closer to Madaka, attacked the community yesterday at about 11a.m.
He said the attack lasted till 2p.m when the bandits decided to leave.
A resident of Madaka and Secretary of the Road Transport Workers Union in Madaka, Nasiru Paki, said the bandits also injured scores of other residents.
He said the attackers also set many houses in the village on fire,
Also, the Secretary to Rafi LGA who is a traditional title holder in Madaka, Bala Madaki said corpses of those killed were yet to be retrieved for burial as the bandits were still patrolling around the community.
Efforts to get the police to confirm the report proved abortive as the Police Public Relations Officer would not pick his calls or respond to messages sent to him.
At least, 50 persons have been killed since the renewed banditry attacks on communities in Niger State.
In Rafi LG alone, over 10 persons have been killed in the last one week, with about 33 persons abducted.
Thousands of residents have also fled their homes, with many taking shelter in temporary camps provided by the state government.
Just six days ago, gunmen attacked Ogu and Tegina communities and abducted at least 19 people in Rafi LGA.
A resident of Ogu, Kamal Wayam, decried that the attackers stormed the community on Sunday morning and started shooting into the air.
“The gunmen in their large number arrived in Ogu on motorcycles and before we knew what was happening, they started shooting into the air.
“They ransacked people’s houses and whatever valuable they could lay their hands on, they carted away,” Wayam said during his conversation with Mohammed.
While confirming the attack in Kaduna, the Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, said military and police authorities disclosed that the four persons were killed on Saturday.
The commissioner explained that following clearance operations at Ungwan Gaiya, Ungwan Gimba and Ungwan Makama of Zangon Kataf local government, three more corpses were recovered, two of which have been identified.
He also noted that two houses were burnt in the attack while the corpses and other valuables were handed over to the police for further investigation and analyses.
In the meantime, troops of Operation Safe Haven and Special Forces are still carrying out operations in Kauru and Zangon Kataf Local Government Areas.
Governor Nasir El-Rufai who sent condolences to the families that lost their loved ones on behalf of the Kaduna State Government, reiterated the need for aggrieved individuals and groups to seek recourse to the law instead of resorting to illegal and violent methods of settling grievances.
He also commended security agencies, traditional and religious institutions, community leaders and other critical stakeholders who remain committed to the peace-building efforts of the government, despite the challenging situation.
The governor commended the military and police authorities for the deployment of more personnel to the two local government areas, towards enhancing security.