No fewer than about 28 persons were said to have been abducted while three other persons were allegedly killed by gunmen suspected to be armed bandits in Farin-Shinge, Kulho, Jigawa, Dogo Fadama communities of Mashegu Local Government Area of Niger State at the weekend, Tribune can report.
The fleeing attackers were also said to have demanded about seven 50 litres of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS/fuel) in addition to packs of Viju Milk and other assorted drinks as a ransom for the release of victims abducted from the Farin-Shinge community within the council area.
Nigerian Tribune investigation gathered that the incidents allegedly occurred last Friday afternoon and early Saturday.
It was further learnt that the suspected armed bandits carried out the attack at about 1:45 pm in the Farin-Shinge community said to be located in the outskirts of Kontagora township when the Friday Juma’at prayers were about to be held.
It was also learnt that another eight persons were allegedly kidnapped when the illegal operations by the hoodlums lasted on the fateful Friday afternoon.
When journalists put a call to him, Vice-Chairman, Kontagora Local Government Council, Aliyu Makings, stressed that the gunmen came through the Tegina route in Rafi Local LGA, in large numbers.
He added that the gunmen repelled security operatives’ efforts before laying siege on the communities.
Attackers demand 450 litres of petrol, Viju milk, others as ransom
“They are demanding for a ransom of seven 50 litres jerry can of petrol, Viju Milk and other drinks,” he stated.
In a related development, some other groups of gunmen suspected to be armed bandits were said to have attacked Jigawa, Dogo Fadama and neighbouring communities, killing two persons while four others were allegedly kidnapped and taken to undisclosed locations.
A resident of Jigawa community, Umar Mohammed, stated that the armed men allegedly conducted house-to-house search and rustled a large number of livestock.
He stated further that the attacks took the community by surprise while a majority of the residents of the community ran away into the bush when the marauders arrived.
In Kulho community, the gunmen began the attack at about 3.30 pm and ended the operation at about 6 pm.
Nigerian Tribune checks further revealed that one person identified as Alhaji Tanko Kulho was allegedly shot dead and no fewer than about 16 other persons were said to have been abducted.
Checks also showed that commercial outlets including shops were also ransacked and over 18 brand new motorcycles were allegedly stolen and taken away by the hoodlums.
A resident in Kulho, Abdulrahman Kulho Adamu who confirmed the attack said that six of his family members including his three elder brothers were among those who were abducted.
“We were all seated at the market square when we saw many motorcycles carrying at least three passengers on each and they are well armed with sophisticated weapons like AK-47 rifles, submachine guns. The operation started around 3.48 pm and they left Kulho at around 6.07 pm,” he said.
He stated further that many people were abducted, saying “six of my family members were abducted, they include my elder brothers Yakubu Kulho, Gambo Kulho, Haruna Nda Kulho, my younger brother, Baba Nda Karami, my nephew, Mohammed Gaddafi and my elder brother’s wife, Salaha Haruna Kulho. Six of them in my family were taken away.”
But in a swift reaction, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Niger State Police Command, DSP Wasiu Abiodun, said “on 14/01/2022 at about 1300hrs, suspected armed bandits/terrorists entered Mashegu village through Jigawa area of Mashegu and rustled a yet to be ascertained number of cattle while they broke a provisions shop at Kawo village.”
He stated this in a press statement issued and made available to the newsmen on Sunday in Minna.
The PPRO, however, stated that “unfortunately, on the same date at about 1400hrs, suspected bandits attacked Kulho village, a remote community via Ibbi in Mashegu LGA and abducted about fifteen (15) persons.”