Niger: Bandits kill 25, abduct 50 for avoiding ransom-negotiation meeting

Bandits have killed 25 persons in Kwaki and surrounding communities in Shiroro local government of Niger state for allegedly refusing to attend a meeting held to negotiate ransom for farmers in the area to harvest their farm products.

Blueprint learnt that the bandits carried out the attack on Monday afternoon barely 24 hours after the meeting was held on Sunday and attended by some other communities.

It was also learnt that 30 others were seriously injured and are yet to get medical attention while those abducted are mostly women and children.

According to a member of the attacked community who pleaded anonymity, “The Bandits also went away with about 50 members of the communities, mostly women and children in the attack which lasted over three hours. The bandits, numbering about one hundred, invaded these villages in Kwaki in Kurebe/Kushaka Ward of Shiroro local government on Monday morning to unleash terroir on the people for their refusal to attend a meeting which was held on Sunday, a day before the attack.”

It was gathered that the bandits requested the payment of three million Naira each from 25 communities in the area as the only condition to allow them harvest their farm produce and carry on with their normal farming business.

It was further gathered that 16 communities attended the Sunday meeting which was held at Buresindna village through their Representatives and agreed to source for the money if that is the only thing that will give them peace in the area after over six years of Banditry activities.

A source close to the communities said the bodies of those killed are still littered around the bush in these communities as at Tuesday afternoon with nobody to bury them, adding that “the injured ones, about 30 of them are also hiding in the bush nursing their injuries for fear of being killed while some women and children managed to escaped to nearby villages.”

The Chairman of Shiroro local government, Mallam Suleiman Chukuba, confirmed the attack but denied knowledge of any meeting between the communities and the bandits.

He faulted the decision of the communities to enter into negotiation with the bandits, saying that the payment of N3million by each communities will not put an end to the activities of these bandits in the area.

According to him, “the only solution which we suggested to the Federal Government is the establishment of a military base in Makatan junction, Lokope and Kaure communities where the bandits use as their entry route from Kaduna to Niger state.”

Chukuba described as unfortunate, the continue loss of lives to these bandits, stressing “the efforts of both the state and local government seems not to be yielding any result. Am therefore appealing to the federal government to come to our rescue.”

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