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‘They killed my father over cows’

Our nightmares – Villagers

By Wole Mosadomi

Penultimate Thursday will ever be remembered as a sad day for the community of Allawa village in Shiroro local government area of Niger State.

Midnight on the fateful day, gunmen, believed to be cattle rustlers, invaded the village and unleashed terror on residents, leaving some dead and many others injured.

The invasion lasted about two hours.

Bows and arrows, daggers, cutlasses and charms were said to have been freely used on the villagers by the invaders.

Many houses, shops and other valuables were equally set on fire with property worth thousands of Naira destroyed.

For the fear of another attack, many of the villagers, according to reports, are fleeing the community.

Mallam Audu-Guda
Malam Audu Godia… Fulani men descended on us.

The community was noted for peace until recent times when the villagers started sighting strange people.

Some of the surviving villagers said the invasion caught them napping.

Malam Zakari Yawu, 40, a labourer and one of the survivors, narrated his experience to Sunday Vanguard. He   said he was shocked when he woke up around midnight to see some men in his room.

“There were about 10 Fulani men that invaded my room that night. They didn’t demand for anything but descended on me and amputated my hand with cutlass. I could realise from their conversation that they were Fulani men. It was a painful experience which I don’t like to recall again,” Yawu stated.

Malam Ibrahim Kusheriki told Sunday Vanguard  what could have led to the incident which claimed the life of his father.

Ibrahim, a staff of Federal University of Technology, Minna, said, “My father is the secretary of the vigilante group in our village and when soldiers stormed the village on September 19. They commandeered my father to lead them to the settlement of the rustlers which he did not knowing that he had been marked by the rustlers.

“The rustlers must have invaded our village few days later in a reprisal attack during which they descended on my father and killed.

One of the victims who sustained  injuries from matchete cuts, Malam Audu Godia, said he was sitting with a police officer after his meal and relaxing when some Fulani men descended on them.

“That was the last thing I could recall until hours later when I came back to life in hospital”, he lamented.

While the dead have been buried, those who were injured were taken to Minna General Hospital where they are receiving treatment.

Senator David Umaru representing Niger East paid a visit to those affected and called on government to show more concern on the issue which he said has been recurring in the area in past few months.

At the Minna General Hospital, the senator commiserated with the victims, including Umar Sad,14, the son of the village head who suffered several matchete cuts.

The Emir of Minna, Alhaji Umar Farouk Bahago, also visited the victims and pleaded with members of the community to remain calm and refrain from reprisal attacks in order not to cause more havoc in the area.

At press time, Allawa village was tensed up as economic activities in the area was yet to pick up because most residents who fled the community were yet to return.

However, Niger State Police Command, through its spokesman, ASP Bala Elkana, said security around the village had been beefed up with policemen and soldiers keeping vigil.

He said only six lives including a police inspector were lost contrary to earlier reports by some media just as he said the invation was not by Book Haram sect but the cattle rustlers.



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