*Bandits attack Kaduna community, kill man, kidnap pregnant wife, over 10 others
*Suspected herdsmen kill five persons in another Ondo community
*Gunmen abduct, release wife of Plateau deputy gov’s aide, other, kill 3 others
*Bandits in North-West have become state within state, says Shehu Sani
By Dayo Johnson, Marie-Therese Nanlong & Ibrahim Hassan-Wuyo
Bandits and herdsmen have in the last 24 hours gone on rampage in Kaduna, Ondo and Plateau states, killing at least six persons and kidnapping several persons.
In Kaduna, a man was killed when the bandits attacked Gbagyi village on Monday night, while his pregnant wife was abducted. 10 other persons were also taken away by the bandits.
The bandits were said to have attacked the community in several motor bikes, shooting sporadically to subdue the villagers.
A resident of the community who preferred anonymity, said: ‘’Those on bike were later joined by several other bandits who sneaked into the community from a river side and moved stealthily like monkeys.
“When they came into the community, people were running away but the man who looked like a vigilante stood and attempted to make a call with something like a walkie-talkie. The bandits shot him in the head, he fell and died.’’
He alleged that apart from the deceased‘s wife picked by the bandits, they also kidnapped over 10 residents of the community in an operation that lasted over an hour.
In Ondo State, five persons were killed by suspected herdsmen at Arimogija community in Ose Local Government Area of the state.
This was despite the riot act read by Governor Rotimi Akeredolu and other security agencies in the state that such killings would no longer be allowed in any area of the state.
Many others sustained various degrees of injurries during the Monday attack over the refusal of the villagers to allow the herdsmen feed on their farmland.
Attack in farm
Sources said the community youth leader, Augustine Lucky, was among those killed by the herdsmen.
Speaking on the attack, the community youth secretary, Nweke Izuchukwu Jude, confirmed the killing of the five persons in two separate attacks.
“They attacked the first set of people on the farm and killed two of them. It was those injured in the first attack that called other villagers for help.
‘’While those who went to rescue them were trying to take the injured back home for treatment, the armed herders appeared again and killed three more people.
“The herdsmen are in our bushes and farmlands, all we need is the support of security men to chase them away and arrest as many as possible.”
He lamented that “all the policemen, except one, who came to the community left with the governor on Sunday, and the only one left could not enter the bush.’’
Contacted, the state command spokesperson, Fumilayo Odunlami, confirmed the latest attack but said she was yet to get the details.
Similarly, the state commander of Amotekun , Chief Adetunji Adeyeye, said his men who were earlier deployed to Molege, rushed to the area.
Adeyeye pointed out that his men were still combing the forest in a bid to apprehend the killers but declined to give the number of casualties.
In Plateau State, gunmen suspected to be bandits, kidnapped Dorcas, wife of Silas Vem, the Deputy Chief of Staff to the Deputy Governor of Plateau State.
Mrs. Vem was abducted in front of her house, close to Government House in Rayfield, Jos while returning from an outing.
Another set of armed men also abducted a Director in the State Ministry of Health, Dr. Samuel Audu, in front of his house in Barkin Ladi Local Government Area of the state.
For Mrs. Vem, a source who did not want to be named, said: “For three days now, the whereabouts of the wife of the Deputy Chief of Staff, Government House, Dorcas Vem has remained unknown.
‘’She is a staff of the University of Jos. Their house is at the Little Rayfield in Jos, very close to Government House.
“The woman was just driving to their house when some gunmen accosted her in front of their gate.
“They forcibly dragged her out of her vehicle and took her away to an unknown destination. The incident happened on Sunday and since then, we have not seen her.”
The State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Nimkong Lar, confirmed Dr. Audu’s abduction, saying the abductors had demanded N50 million ransom.
The commissioner said: “Yesterday, (Monday) when we closed here, we went to the house of one of our staff, because we lost a deputy director in the ministry. We went for a condolence visit to the family. It was Dr. Audu that led us there, when we finished, we parted ways.
“This was about 5.30pm, and as he got home, he asked his wife to open the door for him, and lo, the kidnappers were waiting there for him. They took him away as the wife came out.
‘’By 12 midnight, they called that they have Dr. Audu, that we should bring N50 million. Where will we get such money?”
The state police command could not confirm the incidents as calls put across to the State Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, ASP Gabriel Ubah, were not connected.
However, last night, Plateau State police command confirmed the release of Mrs. Dorcas Vem and Dr. Samuel Audu.
The State Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Gabriel Uba, said: “They have been released and reunited with their families by the joint operations of the Police and other security agencies.
‘’They were rescued today by the joint operation, comprising the Police and other security agencies. Efforts are on top gear to apprehend the suspects.”
In another Plateau attack on Monday night, three persons were killed, while two others were injured at Tyana community in Riyom Local Government Area of Plateau State.
The deceased were said to have been ambushed and killed while returning to the community from Riyom town.
In a statement issued by the Berom Youth Moulders’ Association, the umbrella body of Berom youths, and signed by Rwang Tengwong, its National Publicity Secretary, a visit had been paid to the survivors of the attack who are receiving treatment in a hospital.
The statement read in part: “The Berom Youth Moulders’ Association, BYM has condemned the killing of three persons from Tyana community of Riyom Local Government Area by gunmen suspected to be herdsmen.
“Five persons were ambushed on their way home on Monday, 10/01/2022 at around 9:30 pm. Three persons; Joel Yohanna, aged 27; Daniel Bitrus, 25, and Christopher Ezekiel Mwantiri, 22 were murdered while two others, Paul Luka Zam, aged 22, and Philibus Bulus Mwantep, 25 sustained severe injuries.
“According to Paul Luka Zam, they were returning from Riyom when the incident occurred. Zam said they were approaching the community when they sensed strange movement from the bush by the road.
“He said the strangers began to shoot at them and he was shot on his left leg. He added that despite the injury from the gunshot, he managed to escape but the other three who were right behind them were unlucky as the attackers came out from the bush in their numbers and shot at them directly.
“BYM President, Solomon Dalyop Mwantiri, Esq who was at the hospital to assess the state of health of the injured, condoled the families that lost their loved ones and described as unfortunate the situation where young persons continue to be targeted by the enemies of peace in Plateau State.
“Mwantiri said communities must activate the local security systems where earlier warning signs will be dictated and prompt measures are taken to avert the attack.
Meanwhile, a member of the 8th Senate from Kaduna Central, Senator Shehu Sani, said yesterday that bandits had become a state within a state in the north-western part of the country.
Senator Sani, who stated this in an interview on Channels Television’s Political Paradigm, said: “Virtually now, bandits in the North West have become a state within a state.
“They have been able to establish governance structure in the sense that they don’t just kidnap and extort money, it has reached a point where they even install traditional rulers and Imams.’’
While asking authorities to step up efforts against the criminals, Senator Sani said more should be done by the government to secure the lives and properties of the people.
“This is not just happening in Mars, Jupiter, or Venus; this is happening in the state of the President (Katsina).
‘’Bandits have become an authority – they kill those they want to kill, they preserve those whom they want to preserve.
“In the states of Katsina, Kaduna, Zamfara, Kebbi, Sokoto, and Niger, a large swathe of land is virtually under the control of these bandits,’’ he said.
According to him, the recent attacks on several villages in Zamfara were in response to the military campaign launched against the bandits.
He called on President Muhammadu Buhari to contact his old friends and neighbours to get the information on the ground.
“President Buhari should spare time, go through his old logbook, look at the numbers of those his old friends and people he has lost touch with in the last four to seven years, call them and ask what is going on,” Senator Sani said.