Bandits Kill 65, Abduct 160 In Katsina, Niger, Kogi

Gunmen Kidnap 13 In Abuja Community, Demand N900m Ransom

Despite the gains recorded by Nigerian security forces in recent time, the purveyors of insecurity in parts of the North seem not deterred as bandits at the weekend struck in Kogi, Katsina and Niger states, killing 65 persons, including two undergraduates.

They also kidnapped 160 people and are demanding N10 million ransom for each of the abducted victims, totalling N1.6 billion.

The bandits first invaded several communities in Katsina State and killed 55 residents. They also burnt and destroyed houses and properties worth millions of naira.

In Kogi State, they killed two abducted students of Confluence University of Science and Technology (CUSTECH), Osara.

A credible source in the state said the bandits attacked three communities of Unguwar Lamidi, Unguwar Baro and Unguwar Kare in the Bakori local government area at about 2am on Saturday.
The bandits were believed to have killed 40 residents.

He said, “Already those killed have been buried according to Islamic injunctions.”

When contacted on the matter, the chairman of Bakori local government area, Ali Mamman Maicitta, who attended the burial of the victims, said security agents were drafted to the scenes of the incidents and that the state government had been contacted on the matter.
He prayed to Allah to forgive the sins of those killed and give their family the fortitude to bear the losses.
In a related development, another gang of bandits attacked a village called Yar-Taba in Kankara local government area of the state.

The hoodlums reportedly killed about 15 persons, mostly women and children.

A source in the area told LEADERSHIP yesterday afternoon that “on Saturday the bandits attacked Yar-Taba community, shooting people indiscriminately. About 15 people were killed in that attack, most of them were women and children. Their corpses were brought yesterday for burial in Kankara town.
“The bandits are saying we will not go to the farm this year, which, according to them, is the reason why they have been on the rampage in our community.”

When contacted, the Katsina State police command’s public relations officer (PPRO), Sadiq Abubakar, confirmed the incidents, saying he would soon speak in that regard.
In Niger State, bandits invaded Kuchi community in Munya local government area and killed eight residents. They also abducted 160 people and demanded N10 million to release each of the abductees, the residents of the area have claimed.

The bandits were said to have invaded the village on Friday night and Saturday morning, shooting randomly and ordering anybody they sighted to follow them.
It was learnt that no fewer than 300 bandits came on motorcycles and led the people they abducted into the forest adjoining Munya and Chikun in Kaduna State where they are said to have various camps.
A man who said his daughter and two grand-daughters were among those abducted, Danjuma Ahmed, said the bandits invaded their houses in the night and ordered them out, shooting those who tried to resist.

Another resident, Mohammed Dantala, said the bandits came in search of their GPRS, which the villagers said was with the village head, Alhassan Barde, but the village head told them he had given it to the government.

Dantala said the bandits, who were visibly annoyed, started moving from house to house.

“By the time they left we counted eight dead bodies and over 160 people were missing. Four security personnel who were offering skeletal services in the village were also abducted. They looted houses and shops, took away food stuff, provisions and drinks,” he added
Another villager Abdullahi said: “They are asking for N10 million for the release of each person and I learnt security personnel went after them and 25 of the bandits were neutralised.”

Attempts to get official confirmation were futile but a security source who preferred anonymity confirmed the incident and added that the joint security operatives in the area are on the trail of the bandits.

In Kogi State, the police on Sunday confirmed the killing of two of the abducted students of Confluence University of Science and Technology (CUSTECH), Osara.

The state police commissioner, Mr Bethrand Onuoha, confirmed the killing in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on Sunday in Lokoja, the state capital.

Onuoha described the killing by the abductors as “very unfortunate”.

The CP, who did not give further details, said that security operatives were on the trail of the abductors.

NAN reports that abductors had invaded the institution at about 9pm. on May 9 while the students were studying in their classes ahead of their examinations slated for May 13, and abducted some students, after shooting sporadically into the air.

Although security agencies had rescued 21 of the abducted students with the help of local hunters, a few were still in the hands of the abductors.

A non-governmental organisation (NGO), Education For All (E4A), has condemned the killing of the students in spite of ongoing negotiations with the parents to pay ransom for their release.

Malam Nasir Ibrahim, the publicity secretary of the NGO, in a statement in Lokoja, described the killing as the height of callousness.

He said that the kidnappers were out to scare young people from going to school, which was unfortunate.

“It is sad that the criminals killed two of the students who were not among the 21 rescued through the operation coordinated by the Kogi government.

“This is sad, callous and a call for collective action against attackers of educational institutions.

“We are aware that parents of the students were negotiating with the kidnappers which slowed down the offensive on the kidnappers by security agencies so as not to endanger the lives of the captives.

“We were very hopeful and optimistic that they will be released at the end of the negotiations. Information reaching us shows that the students killed were James Michael Anajuwe, a 100-level Information Technology student, and Musa Hussein, a 100-level Software Engineering student.

“They were allegedly killed at the kidnappers’ hideout in Kwara. We are broken and shattered that despite the efforts of the parents, NGOs and the state government, we still lost these promising students,” the group said.

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