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12.04.2021 Social Justice EXCLUSIVE: Over 200 Communities in Niger Now Under the Control of Bandits

Published 12th Apr, 2021

By Ibrahim Adeyemi

More than 200 communities in Lakpma axis and some other parts of Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State are now under the control of bandits, FIJ can exclusively report. As a result, hundreds of residents sacked from the villages are now left to their fate.

Ever since all officials of the Army, Police, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Civilian Joint Task Force and local vigilante were withdrawn from the Lakpma area, armed bandits have taken over the underpoliced communities from residents, who are currently seeking refuge in Padongari area of the state.

FIJ had reported how the mysterious killing of five soldiers and one NSCDC officer led to the withdrawal of all security operatives in the district.

“Over 200 communities are currently under the control of the bandits as I speak to you. Villagers are seeking refuge in other parts of the state,” a youth leader told FIJ. “The whole of the Lakpma axis is now under control of the bandits. You can’t find anybody in over 200 communities now.”

READ ALSO: EXCLUSIVE: Army, Police, NSCDC Withdraw from Niger Communities after Killing of Five Soldiers by Bandits

Multiple sources narrated how bandits are “barricading roads and ambushing numerous road users who occasionally go to their homes to fetch some foodstuffs for their upkeep” in their deserted communities.

FIJ also gathered that the bandits impose taxes on those who have decided to remain in the communities, to spare them of subsequent attacks.

“There is palpable tension in the war-torn part of Shiroro Local Government in Niger and unfortunately, the affected people have been abandoned to their fate, thereby wallowing in agony and misery,” another source said. 

“Our current sad reality is that criminals now attack their victims at will without the slightest hindrance, resistance or confrontation from the authorities concerned,” yet another source said.

FIGHTING TO WIN MORE TERRITORIES 

FIJ can also report that the organised criminal group are launching more attacks in an attempt to conquer more communities, taking advantage of the disappearance of security operatives in the axis.

“Just yesterday, Bassa Community was attacked in broad daylight by these daredevils while commercial activities were going on at Bassa market. Casualties were recorded; about five members of local vigilante corps were said to have been gunned down during fierce gun battle,” Yususf Kokki, leader of Concerned Shiroro Youth, told FIJ.

“Also, during the operation, there was a lot of destruction. Many people sustained various degrees of multiple gunshot injuries while many others were kidnapped and taken to unknown destinations.”

He added that for now, no respite is in sight as the deadly attacks are ongoing unabated.

“Terrorists have reduced us to nothingness!” he said.

ASP Wasiu Abiodun, the spokesperson of the Niger State Police Command, was not immediately available for comments when contacted by FIJ. He also did not respond to a message requesting for his reaction to the matter.

Published 12th Apr, 2021

By Ibrahim Adeyemi

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