In just 19 days in January, gun-wielding terrorists have ravaged 300 communities in Niger State, killing 220 residents and abducting 200 others in a series of coordinated attacks.
Abubakar Sani Bello, the state governor, presented the statistics to Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria’s president, during the former’s visit to the presidential villa in Abuja.
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Among the 200 slain people were 165 civilians, 25 security personnel and 30 local vigilante fighters, according to the governor.
“In January this year alone, we suffered not less than 50 reported attacks and loss of lives between 1st and 17th January,” Bello said. “Within the same period, not less than 300 communities have been [sic] invaded by bandits.”
“The number of people kidnapped is 200, including three Chinese nationals. We also lost some security personnel. Their number is 25. Unfortunately, we lost about 165 civilians and 30 local vigilantes. So, it’s a very dire situation that we have been battling since the beginning of this year.”
However, he was optimistic that the state would soon be relieved of the terrorism bedevilling it. This, according to Bello, was because of the commitment shown by security personnel following President Muhammadu Buhari’s order to go tough with the terrorists in the state.
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While he did not give details of the affected communities, a source told FIJ in confidence that communities in the Shiroro Local Government Area took the larger percentage of the figures given by the government. “Only a few villages in Mashegu and Rafi-Kagara Local Government Areas were affected,” he said.
“Major attacks in the Shiroro axis don’t make headlines. On a daily basis, people from villages under terrorists’ control troop to internally displaced persons (IDPs) camps spread across the state. The camp officials cannot deny this, but we keep our faith in God.”
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