By Abimbola Ogunnaike
Bandits have killed at least 25 farmers and abducted several women and girls from various communities in Rafi Local Government Area of Niger State.
The attack was said to have taken place around 2 pm on Friday, 9 June, 2023 where the gunmen went on rampage in five villages in the council area.
The breakdown of the killing showed that 13 people lost their lives in Kusherki community, 12 others were killed in Gidigori village, while several others were yet to be accounted for as at the time of filing in this report.
Confirming the attack, a community leader in one of the villages, Mallam Nasir Buhari said the bandits have resumed attacks on the villages with full force.
“We have not had it easy in the last two weeks but the situation had worsened since Wednesday.
“As I speak to you, bandits have taken over most parts of Rafi LGA. They have been in Kusherki community since around 2 pm on Friday.
“They spent the night in Garin-Zara community and rustled hundreds of cattle, goats and rams and killed an unspecified number of people,” he said.
Also confirming the attack, the Senator representing Niger East Senatorial District in the National Assembly, Senator Mohammed Sani Musa lamented that the bandits had resumed attacks on Rafi, Paikoro, Munya and Shiroro local governments that form part of his constituency.
Musa, who said the criminals were out to test the power and capacity of the new administrations at both federal and state levels, however, said he believed President Ahmed Bola Tinubu and Governor Mohammed Umar Bago-led governments would deal with the situation.
The Niger State Police Command’s Public Relations Officer, DSP Wasiu Abiodun, said security operatives had been deployed to the area to restore peace and safety to lives.
“We have reviewed tactical deployments in the area, and more deployments of PMF (Police Mobile Force) have been made, in collaboration with the military to cover Yakila, Tegina, Kagara, Pandogari, Kusherki and its environs to forestall reoccurrence,” the PPRO said.
It was gathered that humanitarian crisis in the area had worsened since Wednesday as hundreds of Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, including women and children from various villages trooped to Kagara, the Headquarters of Rafi LGA, abandoning their villages for the bandits.