Niger/Kaduna/Oyo: Bandits sack another military base, attack hospital, abduct 2 nurses, 33 others

The   security situation in some parts of Nigeria experienced a worse turn in the last 48 hours with the bandits killing  and kidnapping innocent citizens.

Most affected are Niger, Kaduna, Oyo, Benue, Edo and Zamfara states.   

The latest of these was the kidnap of 15 persons following an attack on a military camp in  Zagzaga village in Munya local government of Niger state.

 It was gathered  that a military officer has been declared missing after the attack on the base Wednesday during which arms and ammunitions were carted away by the bandits and vehicles also burnt.

Consequent upon this, Blueprint learnt that the Nigerian Army shut down the camp and evacuated all soldiers from both the camp and the community.

It was also learnt that the Army, with supports from youth in the community, has commenced a search operation for the missing soldier.

 It was also learnt that  the mobile phone of the missing soldier was  ringing but he was not responding to the calls, thus fuelling suspicion that he could have either being killed or abducted by the bandits and his phone seized from him.

 An eyewitness account said the armed bandits numbering about 60 and heavily armed, invaded a Military Camp in Zazzaga community in Munya local government area of the state, adding that “they engaged the soldiers in a gun battle, leading to a heavy casualties on the side of the bandits. None of the soldiers was injured in the attack except the missing RSM.”

 A community source said few hours after the soldiers moved out of the Zagzagi, the bandits launched a coordinated attack on some communities in the area.

According to the source who pleaded anonymity, “about 15 people were abducted from these communities in the midnight attacks, leaving the areas now completely deserted as the people have relocated to neighboring villages.

Communities that came under attacks last night are Zagzaga, Zhani, Guni and Maraban daudu. The villagers have all relocated from these communities, leaving only the youths and some men behind.”

When contacted on the latest incident, Secretary to the State Government, Ibrahim Matane said the military camp was being closed temporarily for tactical reason.

He explained that the military had been stationed in the community for the past five years due to the notorious nature of the area.

He disclosed that Zagzaga community and other surrounding villages  remained entry and exit routes for the bandits before the soldiers were brought and stationed there, adding that the people had enjoyed a steady peace for the past five years of military presence.

Blueprint learnt that this is the third military base in the area closed within three weeks. Those in Allawa and Bassa in Shiroro local government were earlier shut down following a deadly attack during which six security personnel were killed.  

 Kaduna

And in a similar report, barely 24 hours after kidnapping at least 20 students and staff of Greenfield University, Kasarami, Kaduna state, gunmen struck again, this time abducting two nurses at the state’s General Hospital in Idon, Kajuru local government area.

 In the Tuesday night attack on the private university, the hoodlums killed a porter and whisked away a matron and at least 20 students.

Confirming the Wednesday night attack, Chairman Kajuru local government area, Hon. Cafra Caino, called on residents of the area and the people to remain calm, noting that investigation into the kidnap had commenced and security agencies would soon unravel the kidnappers.

Reacting to the incident, Chief Medical Director of the General Hospital Dr. Shingyu Shamnom told journalists that the gunmen wielding dangerous weapons gained access to the hospital through the fence.

He said having forcefully gained entry into the hospital,  the criminals shot severally to make their presence known before taking away the two nurses on night duty.

He lamented that despite identifying themselves as medical workers, the gunmen were unmoved as they went away with the nurses. 

The CMD explained that after hearing the gunshots, the other staff had to stay at their various houses in fear. 

“We were in our homes until a call was put through to us that it was kidnappers who invaded the hospital, only to discover that two of the nurses on night duty have been taken away by the bandits.

“The moment we heard gunshots we could not leave our houses out of fear until the gunmen had left,” the CMD said.

 Zamfara

 Meanwhile, attacks by suspected bandits across villages in Zamfara state have left at least 83 persons dead and hundreds of others, including women and children, injured.

Reports on the attacks were given by displaced people, officials and residents of the affected communities.

Most of the attacks, which appeared coordinated, happened Wednesday in Gusau, Maradun and Bakura local government areas of the troubled North-west state.

There had beenapprehension in the Dansadau district of Maru local government area of the state following the killing of 20 people in separate attacks by rival groups in the area.

The sole administrator of Bakura local government, Aminu Suleiman, told reporters that over 30 people were killed in attacks in Bakura and Maradun.

Suleiman, however, said the deaths were recorded over days of reprisal attacks between members of outlawed vigilante groups and bandits.

In Magami district, residents Thursday morning said they had recovered 53 corpses. They said the attackers moved from village to village, unleashing mayhem, unchallenged.

There was tension in the area over fears that the gunmen would return to disrupt the burial of those killed. Residents said many of those killed were vigilantes who tried to defend their villages against the bandits.

As at the time of this report,  residents of many communities were yet to bury their dead as more corpses were being discovered in the area.

Residents said the assailants carried sophisticated weapons and raided the villages on motorbikes. They said most of the villages had earlier been deserted following incessant attacks but that some villagers were returning for the farming season.

The affected communities include Gobirawa, Gora, Rini and Madoti Dankule of Maradun and Bakura local government areas.

In the Magami district of Gusau local government area, the affected communities include Yar’ Doka, Kango, Ruwan Dawa, Madaba, Arzikin Da and Mairairai, the closest of which is seven kilometres from Gusau town.

Residents said hostilities persist in the state due to the absence of security agents in the most affected areas. They said this has encouraged extrajudicial killings and reprisal attacks between vigilante members and bandits.

Govt condemns attack

The state government condemned the attacks in Maradun and Bakura, but has not spoken on the one in Gusau.

The state’s Commissioner for Information, Ibrahim Dosara, in a statement, said Governor Bello Matawalle was saddened by the unfortunate incidents.

“The government also condoled with the families of those who lost their lives in the sad event and is taking every necessary step to ensure that the culprits are brought to book,” Dosara said.

 Benue

Also, some  armed militia men believed to be herdsmen Wednesday attacked and killed four persons in Makurdi and Guma local government areas of Benue state.
Blueprint learnt that two persons were killed in Tse-Zoola, Makurdi local government while 2 others were killed at Mbayev/Yandev council ward in Guma local government area.
It was further gathered that three persons who were seriously injured during the attack are currently receiving treatment at the Benue State University Teaching Hospital BSUTH, Makurdi.

Governor Samuel Ortom  made an emergency visit to the affected community Thursday  while returning  from the burial of Mrs Bridget Mom.

Briefing the governor, the eldest man in the community, Mr. Aho Zoola,  said  the gunmen, without any provocation, attacked the villagers  around 2am when the people were deeply asleep, and killed Zaki Hyacinth Ajon and Benjamin Anakula.

When asked if they had rustled the Fulani cows in the past, Aho replied in the negative, insisting that the villagers  never had any issue with the herdsmen even when their herds grazed on their crops.

Addressing the residents, Governor Ortom sympathised with those displaced from their homes as a result of the attack and assured them he would do everything possible to get security agencies to the area.

Confirming the incident in Guma local government area, the council chairman, Mr. Caleb Aba, said the herders came at about 9 pm and attacked the Mbayev/ Yandev council ward, killing two persons and injuring three others.

Aba said the attack on his people was unprovoked and wondered why the attackers continued to attack his people without any just reason.

 Aba, who is also the state chairman of Association of Local Governments  of Nigeria(ALGON),  said when he got news of the incident he alerted the security who went to the area and recovered the dead bodies.

He said the corpses had been deposited   in the mortuary while  the injured persons were currently receiving treatment at BSUTH Makurdi.

 Edo

 In a related development, gunmen suspected to be robbers have shot dead an officer of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) guarding the University of Benin bursar’s private residence at Ogheghe Community, Ikpoba-Okha local government area of Edo state .

 The incident reportedly occurred at about 2.45am  Thursday at the presidential area of the community. 

 A community source who craved anonymity said the gunmen were fleeing  a robbery scene  in the area when they inadvertently landed in the bursar’s residence after scaling through a nearby fence. 

 “Upon landing in the bursar’s compound, the gunmen met the NSCDC officer identified as Mr. Alex Osaghae sleeping- and the hoodlums immediately opened fire on him. The gunmen thereafter made away with the officer’s rifle,” the source stated.

 Neither the bursar, Mr. Victor Imagbe  nor  the institution’s spokesman, Dr. Benedicter Ehanire responded to inquiries as at the time of filing this report. 

The Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Edo State Command, NSCDC, Mr. Ogbebor Efosa confirmed the incident. 

 He however declined further comments on the incident. 

 Oyo

And from Oyo state came the report that gunmen suspected to be kidnappers abducted about 18 persons on the Igboora-Eruwa Road in Ibarapa area of  the state.

 Already, the state Council of  the Nigeria of the Union of Journalists ( NUJ) has urged the state’s  Commissioner of  Police,  Ngozi Onadeko to relocate to the troubled area in order to restore sanity and confidence  of the  Ibarapa residents. 

  It was learnt that the 18 persons were abducted by the gunmen Wednesday night while travelling in an 8-seater bus said to be coming from Abeokuta  heading for Eruwa through the Igboora- Eruwa road..

The gunmen alleged to be herders domiciled in Ibarapaland, were said to have forcefully flagged down the bus at gunmen and led all the 18 passengers in the bus into a standby vehicle and drove them to an unknown destination

Sources said efforts by the driver of the  bus  to escape from the scene of  the incident which occurred around 6.30 pm on Wednesday failed,  as he was overpowered by the gunmen after moving the car on reverse for some metres.

It was learnt that the kidnappers early Thursday contacted the families of one of the 18 persons said to be an apple seller at Isaba area in Eruwa.

Our source said the gunmen were demanding for N10 million as ransom for her to be set free from their hands.

 NUJ tasks CP

Meanwhile, the state NUJ  has described the alleged kidnap in  Ibarapaland as scary.

 The council said this in a statement Thursday by its chairman and secretary, Comrades Ademola Babalola and Sola Oladapo.

They said: “That this madness continues unabated despite assurances of the security agents leaves sour taste in the mouth. A report says 18 people were kidnapped this (Thursday) morning, while another claimed seven persons were abducted on Wednesday. All these call for great concern and serious investigation by a delegation of high powered police hierarchy, hence the need for the CP to take up the challenge.”

“We are alarmed by this ugly development and therefore calls on all stakeholders in the security circle including the Chief Security Officer of the State, Governor Seyi Makinde to immediately deploy all powers at their disposal to rescue the victims unhurt and bring the perpetrators to book.” 

 Gumi explains silence

 And amidst the rising insecurity, a  Kaduna-based Islamic cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, has said he stopped further negotiation with the bandits terrorising the state because the state government had warned against such move.

In an interview with SaharaReporters,  Thursday,   the cleric’s media aide, Mr Salisu Hassan, said the cleric halted his plans to respect the decision of the state government.

“No, it is not that Sheikh is busy. The problem is that since the government is not interested in reconciling with those people.

“So, Sheikh just tried to have some other way so that he can achieve his goals. The Kaduna State government said they are not interested in negotiations,” he said.

 Additional reports from Premium Times and SaharaReporters

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