Block Escape Routes of Fleeing Terrorists, Senate Tasks Military

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Sunday Aborisade in Abuja

The Senate on Wednesday urged the military and security agencies in the country to closely monitor and block the escape routes being used by fleeing terrorists.

It explained that doing so would forestall their relocation to safe havens in other parts of Niger State and the country.

The red chamber also urged the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to provide food and other livelihood support amenities to affected villages and the internally displaced in Mariga, Mashegu, Kontagora and Borgu Local Government Areas in Niger North Senatorial District.

The resolutions were reached by the Senate following a motion on “Renewed kidnappings and Banditry Attacks on Communities in Mariga, Mashegu, Kontagora and Borgu Local Government Areas of Niger North Senatorial District.”

The Deputy Whip of the Senate, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, moved the motion.

He bemoaned the disturbing trend of renewed kidnappings and banditry in communities of Mariga, Mashegu and Kontagora Local Government Areas of Niger State.

He said: “Following the massive onslaught against criminal elements and bandits operating in eastern parts of Sokoto and Zamfara States, there was massive movement of these escaping bandits and their criminal elements into Niger State and specifically into Mariga Local Government Area of Niger State.

“The bandits continuously attacked communities in Mariga LGA leading to massive internal displacement of many communities. Currently, villagers have moved out of MaÚndu, Alabani, Sappaji in Berri Ward; over 20 villages are now empty in Galma/Wamba ward and scanty residents in Ukuru, Igoma, Maruba and Ruka villages in Bobbi ward.

“Communities that border Kaduna, Zamfara and Kebbi States located in Mariga LGA namely Galma, Makici, Makogi Na Maforo, Nassarawa and Kwanan Duci are constantly being attacked by bandits and over 15 persons killed in Bobbi ward of Mariga LGA.

“Some notorious bandits in their numbers operated for hours in five villages on Friday, 14 January, 2022, where several cattle were rustled as villagers fled their homes.

“The bandits first attacked Tungan-Ruá village in the morning, later moved to Tungan Maje and also rustled cattle.

“The same day, they attacked Kawo Mashegu where two people were killed, four persons abducted and proceeded to attack Tungan Magaji village where several cattle were also taken away.

“After several operations, 17 persons were abducted including two persons delivering ransom. The same day, Farin Shinge village a few kilometres away from Kontagora town was also attacked and two persons kidnapped.

“The bandits are in the habit of burning down villages, burning farms with agricultural produce unharvested, stealing the home stored foods of villages they attack with the danger of those who brave the odds to go to their farms for harvest being killed or kidnapped. Many villagers are now IDPs in places like Bangi, Mangoro and other safer locations with no food or amenities for their livelihoods;

“President Muhammadu Buhari had ordered the nation’s armed forces for a major military operation in Niger State which has faced continued attacks on its communities by bandits and remnants of Boko Haram terrorists fleeing theatres of war in the North-western and North-eastern parts of the country.

“I strongly suggest that the operations should be comprehensive enough to close the various paths that give the bandits and fleeing terrorists access to safe havens in various parts of Niger State especially in Mariga, Mashegu, Magama and Borgu Local Governments of Niger North Senatorial Districts and Rafi and Shiroro Local Governments of Niger East Senatorial Districts.”

The Senate resolved to observe a one-minute silence for those who lost their lives.

It urged the armed forces and other security agencies involved in the ordered operations to closely monitor and block the escape paths/routes used by the bandits and fleeing terrorists to forestall their relocation to safe havens in other parts of Niger State.