Banditry: DPO, 6 officers, 5 others slain in Niger, Kebbi attacks

A gang of terrorists reportedly killed three police officers and four local vigilantes, including the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) of Nasko in Magama local government area of Niger state.

The criminal elements were said to have attacked Nasko town Tuesday afternoon during which the police gallantly repelled the attack, with the DPO and others however, felled in the battle.

But scores of the terrorists were also neutralised by the police in the gun duel.

Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) of the Niger state police command, DSP Wasiu Abiodun confirmed the incident in a statement in Minna Tuesday.

He said: “On 15/03/2022 at about 1300hrs, armed bandits/terrorists invaded Nasko village, Magama LGA of Niger State. Police operatives with vigilante members were immediately mobilised by DPO Nasko and engaged the bandits in a fierce gun battle in which some the hoodlums were neutralised and others escaped with gunshot injuries.”

 Unfortunately, Abidoun said, during the gun battle, the DPO, two other policemen, and four vigilante members lost their lives.

 “Area Commander, Kotangora immediately drafted reinforcement with the military personnel to the area to forestall break down of law and order,” the statement further said.  

 The PPRO said the state’s Commissioner of Police, Monday Bala Kuryas, has condoled with the families of officers and vigilante members, who lost their lives in the unfortunate incident, 

Kuryas reassured members of the public that the Command would not be deterred or relent in its effort to curb terrorism in the state.

Kebbi too

Also in Kebbi state, an unspecified number of  terrorists in Danko/Wasagu local government area of Kebbi state,  crossed over to Ngaski local government area of the state, killing four police officers and one civilian in the early hours of Tuesday.

A source told Blueprint in a telephone interview that the hoodlums launched the attack during the day.

The terrorists were also reported to have visited GB Foods Africa limited- a Chinese company which is second largest factory in Nigeria that specialised in production of Tomatoes paste.

Though the terrorists, according to our source, had earlier sent a message three days ago to both residents and the company management, notifying them of their intent to attack them.

 It was also gathered that residents of Ngaski town had to flee the area for safety while the Chinese expatriates were put under safety and evacuated to Yauri enroute Birnin Kebbi, the state capital.

 When contacted, spokesman of the state Police command, SP Nafiu Abubakar, confirmed the report, adding that the gallant police officers died while serving their nation.

 On Thursday, 17th June 2021, the bandits had abducted over one hundred students and eight teachers of Federal Government College Birnin yauri in Yauri emirate.

INEC raises the alarm

Meanwhile, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said eligible voters from 270 polling units displaced from their homes by bandits may not be able to cast their votes in the next general elections in Niger state.

The commission also said the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in 14 local government areas of the state would only vote in the IDP camps if security situation in the state does not improve before 2023 general elections.

 INEC stated this Monday at a stakeholders’ meeting with political parties, security agencies and other citizens at the commission’s headquarters in Minna.

Addressing the meeting, the state’s Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Professor Sam Egwu said: “Eligible voters from 270 polling units have been completely displaced from their homes of which 46 polling units are from Munya LGA, 100 polling units from Mariga LGA, 62 Polling units from Shiroro LGA and 62 Polling units from Rafi LGA have been affected.”

He said if the current security situation does not improve, voters in Shiroro local government area would have to travel  to Minna, the state capital, to vote after which the results would be taken back to Shiroro LGA.

 Egwu, however, said it was not the responsibility of the commission to convey the IDPs to wherever it establishes to be safe for them to vote.

 He explained that INEC already had a policy for IDPs to vote, noting, “but we are calling for support and cooperation from political parties and other stakeholders to achieve the results.”

According to him, INEC has created 1,765 new polling units in addition to the existing 3,186 in the state. 

 In a remark, the Niger state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Monday Bawa Kuryas explained that, although the state was  experiencing a lot of security challenges, security agencies had recently recorded success in the fight against banditry, terrorism  and criminality.

 He said: “The state faced a lot of security challenges in 7 Local Government Areas, but we have been recording a lot of successes in our fight against banditry and criminality.

 “If we maintain the momentum, the IDPS will return back to their homes.”

 On the level of preparedness of security agencies ahead of the 2023 elections, the commissioner said they were battle ready for the polls.