‘Bandits Bathed, Partied In Our Houses Before Pillaging And Destroying Valuables’ — Victims Of Lavun Banditry Still Recount Ordeals

Five months after marauding bandits wrecked havoc in over 10 villages in Lavun local government area of Niger State, some victims of the attack still recount their ordeals, praying and hoping such an incident never repeats itself. In this report, WikkiTimes’ YAKUBU MOHAMMED, interacts with some of the locals.

The two-day massive raid began on February 27, 2022, at Ndaruka, a remote village in the LGA, with a heinous activities like raping, macheting, killing, robbery and kidnapping.

The attacks led to loss of lives in Ebbo, Dabban, Sheshisa and Gogata among others. In addition, scores of people were kidnapped jointly from Egbako, Tsoegi, and Ndaruka. While three kidnapped ladies from Egbako regained freedom a few hours after their abduction, many residents of Ndaruka are still being held by the terrorists. According to a youth leader in Ndaruka, there are about six people in captivity.

READ: REPORTER’S DIARY: ‘Oga! Let’s Shoot Him; He’s Bandits’ Informant’ — How WikkiTimes Journalist Escaped Death From Soldiers In Niger IDPs’ Camp

“Efo dede (unfortunate day),” Abdullahi Mohammed, a resident of Gogata village said in Nupe. Resident of Gogata were hopeful the bandits would not cause mayhem in their village. They (bandits) had cut the village off on the first day of their raid after leaving Egbako and proceeded to Ajenatu and then to Sheshisa where they killed seven people and ransacked the entire village.

“We never thought they would return to our village after sparing us the first day they raided,” Abdullahi told WikkiTimes. “We heard they caused mayhem in Ndaruka, Ebbo and Egbako which is very close to us. To our surprise, they only passed through our village not knowing they will return the next day.”

READ: In Niger, Continuous Peace Deal With Bandits ‘Is The Only Solution’. But Will Banditry End Soon?

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Villagers who spoke to WikkiTimes believed the terrorists only had fun in their village. Although, there was one casualty and that was unfortunately caused by rescuing team of Joint Task Force (JTF) during a counter-attack mission along Sonfada Gabi, another village pillaged by the brazen terrorists.

Alhaji Nko Emi Tsanwkuci was picked from Gogata village, according to the residents. The terrorists would later go away with him and he was killed by a stray bullet from the JTF men.

‘Bandits make merry in our house’

The brazen terrorists besieged Gogata on February 28, heading straight to a relaxation center at the heart of the village. “From there, they move to Ndatsu Gana’s house,” said Mohammad Gana. “They bathed in our bathrooms, misused our toilets before breaking our water pipes, fans and windows.”

Gana, according to his his son just wedded two days before the bandits invaded. His wedding attires were carted away alongside with unspecified amounts of money and praying mats.

Other houses near Gana’s house were not spared. While his newly built house was pillaged and destroyed, the terrorists consumed livestock — mostly fowls — and emptied food in other houses. “They drank paps our women made in the morning and killed plenty fowls,” said Abubakar Muhammad Gogata. “If you were here (relaxation center) that day, you will see a lot of fowls’ heads scattered around here.”

READ: ‘They Want N600m; We Know Where They Are’ — Bauchi CP Gives Hint About Bandits Who Kidnapped Relatives Of Former Gov

Youths who gathered at the relaxation center under a mango tree told WikkiTimes the bandits used their hand-held multimedia players (mps) to play music while they danced and chirped for many hours before leaving the village. WikkiTimes learnt the bandits came into the village around 8 am and left around 5 pm.


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