Bandits and kidnappers have launched multiple attacks in Katsina, Niger and Taraba states, killed many people, injured dozens and abducted over 80 others, including women and children.
In Katsina, Daily Trust reports that at least 10 people were reportedly killed and dozens injured when bandits attacked Unguwar Sarki of Shema Village in Faskari Local Government Area at night on Wednesday.
It was learnt that the bandits in large numbers attacked the community at about 11 pm and operated for hours before they left in the early hours of Thursday.
Daily Trust reports that insecurity has permeated almost all the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) as kidnappers, bandits, terrorists and other miscreants wreak havoc on a daily basis.
President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday sacked his service chiefs and appointed new ones.
During his meeting with them on Wednesday, the president told the new service chiefs that Nigeria was in a state of emergency and tasked them to change the narrative.
A source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said corpses of nine men killed during the night raid in Shema Village were found when the attackers left, while the body of the 10th victim was found Thursday morning.
He added that the gunmen also injured scores of people, rustled animals and carted household items including foodstuff, and money.
Daily Trust gathered that the deceased were buried on Thursday, while the injured have been moved to hospital for medical attention.
Another source in the area said there were concerns that the number of people killed might be more than 10 as the whereabouts of many villagers could not be ascertained.
He said a headcount of members of the community was ongoing to get an idea about those missing.
“And from what we have seen so far, there are concerns that more people might have lost their lives following the incident; probably they have been killed while fleeing to safety.”
He added that security personnel had been deployed to the village while some residents had reportedly fled the community and took refuge at the headquarters of the local government.
Spokesperson for the Katsina State Police Command, SP Gambo Isah, told our correspondent Thursday night that they were yet to get details of the attack.
On his part, Alhaji Ibrahim Katsina, who is the Special Adviser to Governor Aminu Masari on security matters, told our reporter on telephone that they were closely working with traditional rulers to ascertain the veracity of the attack.
Over 50 abducted in Niger
Reports from Niger State in North Central indicate that over 50 people were abducted by bandits in Bassa community in Shiroro Local Government Area on Thursday.
The incident according to sources took place when the bandits stormed the village on motorcycles brandishing weapons.
It was learnt that the locals were getting set for the day when their activities were disrupted, causing them to run to the bush for safety.
The Co-convener, Concerned Shiroro Youths, Sani Abubakar Kokki, confirmed the attack.
He described the gunmen as terrorists and wondered why they attacked “unsuspecting peaceful, unarmed and defenceless people without any provocation.”
Kokki, who said over 50 people have been abducted, also disclosed that on Tuesday, some communities in Bassa/Kokki were attacked and the people suffered losses.
He said that the Shiroro Local Government Area was in dire need of help as people continued to live at the mercy of bandits.
Elsewhere in Lapai Local Government Area of Niger State, the bandits also on Thursday stormed Avu community in Gupa- Abugi Ward. The gunmen according to sources, attacked the community and opened fire on people who were scampering for safety.
One person was reportedly killed in the process while six others were kidnapped.
A member of the community, Idris Musa Avu, while narrating the incident said “The gunmen arrived the village around 1 am in large numbers and upon seeing them, people started running for safety as they were shooting sporadically. One person was killed and six people were kidnapped.”
Musa added that members of the vigilante group in the village tried to repel the attack but could not get police backup while the siege lasted.
When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), ASP Abiodun Wasiu, said he will get back to our reporter when he gets the details of the incident. He was yet to give an update up till the time of filing this report.
A source close the police said it would be difficult to get any response on the attacks. “The officials would give their side of the story at the appropriate time,” he said.
25 kidnapped in Taraba
Unidentified gunmen suspected to be kidnappers abducted 25 youths along Wukari-Takum road at about 6 pm on Wednesday.
Reliable sources in Wukari and Takum told Daily Trust that the 25 youths were on their way back to Takum from Wukari where they attended a marriage ceremony when they ran into a roadblock mounted by gunmen suspected to be kidnappers.
Daily Trust gathered that the victims, all males, were travelling in a commercial bus and ran into a roadblock at a spot between Kofan Amadu and Chanchangi before the gunmen commandeered the bus into the bush.
A relative of some of the victims, Mallam Muhammed Takum, told Daily Trust in a telephone interview, that the victims had attended the wedding ceremony of a friend in Wukari and were abducted while on their way back to Takum.
He said kidnappers and bandits chased from Benue State had regrouped in the forest along Wukari-Takum and Takum-Katsina-Ala roads terrorising innocent travellers.
Another source told our correspondent last night that the abductors had called families of the victims and demanded ransom.
“They confirmed that they are in the custody of all the 25 youths but did not mention the amount to be paid for each of them as ransom,” he said. The source further informed our reporter that the boys of the late notorious bandit, Terwase Akwaza, alias Gana, were responsible for the kidnapping.
“The abductors did not allow relations of the youths to speak with them. They told us that we should not panic as all the 25 youths and their driver are alive, safe and in good health. They said all they want is ransom for each person,” he said.
The spokesperson of Taraba Police command, DSP David Misal, had earlier on Thursday confirmed the incident.
“We confirmed that they are missing but not established either kidnapped or otherwise. An investigation has commenced,” he said.
However, our correspondent could not get him on the telephone last night to get an update on whether they heard of the new development relating to ransom.
New approach needed
A retired military officer, Salihu Bakhari, told the Daily Trust Thursday night that new security architecture was required to restore hope.
“We are glad that new service chiefs have been appointed but the euphoria should go beyond that,” he said.
“The service chiefs are just four in number and after all, they were all holding strategic positions in the military before their latest call.
“Therefore, we should not expect magic from them overnight rather; the commander-in-chief should lead the battle in terms of closely monitoring what is happening.
“He should also invest heavily in equipment acquisition and at the same time serve as the rallying point for all the security establishments in the country.
“Addressing our security challenges will require synergy among the military, police, DSS, civil defence, NIA and others. They must share intelligence without envy,” he said.