*As terrorists kill 3, kidnap 28 in Niger again, demand  Viju milk, other drinks, jerrycans of petrol as ransom

By Wole Mosadomi & Johnbosco Agbakwuru

WORRIED by the reported cases of killings and kidnapping by the bandits and their Boko Haram allies in the country, especially in some northern states, President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered Defence headquarters to respond robustly to the cases.

The directive was disclosed yesterday, via a statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu.

Recall that on January 11, at least 13 persons were confirmed killed in an attack by bandits, now terrorists in Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State.

The President’s order came at a time terrorists again struck in Niger State, killing three persons and abducting 28 others at Farin-Shinge, Kulho, Jigawa, Dogo Fadama communities in Mashegu Local Government Area.

President Buhari in the statement, decried the activities of bandits and Boko Haram terrorists which had claimed many innocent lives, specifically in Niger State, and also expressed sympathies with the government and people of the state for the killings.

The statement,  titled “President Buhari sets the ball rolling for a big military operation in Niger State,” read: “President Muhammadu Buhari as Commander-in-Chief of the nation’s armed forces has set the ball rolling for a major military operation in Niger State, which has faced continued attacks on its communities by bandits and remnants of Boko Haram terrorists fleeing theaters of war in the Northwestern and Northeastern parts of the country.

“In a directive to the Defence Headquarters a few days ago, the President asked the military to respond robustly to the cases of killings and kidnappings in the State and to give effect to the strategic objectives through the use of force.

“In his message to the government and people of Niger State, President Buhari said: “I would like to express sincere sympathies to the government and people of the State following recent security incidents.”

“The President reiterated that security is a responsibility of every member of the community and only through solidarity and cooperation with law enforcement agencies can we defeat the problems finally.

“The Federal Government is willing to strengthen support and cooperation with all the states. I believe that with the full cooperation of the citizens, we will surely overcome this problem.”

Meanwhile, bandits and their terrorists allies have killed at least three persons  and abducted 28 others at Farin-Shinge, Kulho, Jigawa, Dogo Fadama communities of Mashegu local government area of Niger State.

Vanguard gathered that the operation was carried out between Friday afternoon and  Saturday morning.

The gunmen demanded for seven 50-litre Jerrycan of petrol, packs of Viju milk and other drinks as ransom for the abductees from Farin-Shinge community.

An impeccable source from the area said the attack started in Farin-Shinge community a few minutes to  Jummat prayers last Friday as people were caught unaware.

Eight people were kidnapped and whisked away from the area.

Also, Jigawa, Dogo Fadama and surrounding communities were under siege by the terrorists and two people were killed, while four others were abducted.

The terrorists were said to have also moved from house to house, stole some household properties and rustled a lot of cattle.

A source in the area, Umar Mohammed, who confirmed the raid, said the gunmen took them unawares  and the people were unable to confront them and had to flee the area.

Similarly, the gunmen invaded Kulho community around 3.30 pm on Friday and ended the operation at about 6 pm.

Vice Chairman of Kontagora Local Government Area, Alhaji Aliyu Makiga, who confirmed the attacks, said that the gunmen came through Tegina town in large number but noted that after being confronted by the security operatives, they fled into the nearby communities to carry out their nefarious activities.

“They kidnapped a lot of people immediately but later released a few, while others are still with them.

“They are demanding a ransom of seven 50-litre Jerrycan of petrol, viju milk and other drinks,” he disclosed.

In Kulho, it was gathered that one Tanko Kulho was shot dead, 16 people were abducted. Shops were also said to have been ransacked, as about 18 motorcycles were stolen.

A  source in the area, Abdulrahman Kulho Adamu, who confirmed the attack, said six of his family members, including his three elder brothers, were among those abducted.

“ The scene was unbelievable. While we were relaxing at the Market square, we saw many motorcycles carrying at least three people on each and they were all armed with AK 47 magazine guns.

‘’The operation started around 3.48 pm and they left Kulho at about  6.07 pm.  Many people were abducted. Six of my family members were abducted and 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,’’ he said.

Spokesman of the state police command, DSP Wasiu Abiodun, could not be reached for more details.


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