On the early hours of Sunday morning, Armed bandits said to be numbering over 200 invaded some communities in Munya and Paikoro Local Government Areas of Niger State, killing two security operatives, a middle-aged man and injuring about 15 others in an operation which the villagers said was targeted only at foodstuff.
Over 15 women were abducted and forced to help the bandits carry the looted foodstuff, packed in bags from the communities.
The bandits, however, promised to release the women after helping them to evacuate the foodstuff to a particular location.
The communities invaded by the bandits include Beni, old and new Dalolo, Aboloso, Ishau and Amale, all in Paikoro Local Government, while Gwari Nyayi, Kabiri and Biri in Munya Local Government were also raided by the bandits.
Beni, Alhaji Jafaru Umar Sarki, the District Head, confirmed that the invasion started on Saturday evening when the armed men numbering about 200 and in over 50 motorcycles stormed the communities in three different groups.
The Saturday operation only lasted for one hour and the bandits went away with sacks loaded with foodstuff and other items looted from shops in the town.
He said on Sunday morning, the bandits returned and shared themselves into three groups, moving from one community to another targeting only foodstuff and provisions from various outlets , from 9’o clock in the morning and lasted for over three hours.
According to him, a helicopter owned by one of the security agencies was sighted hovering over their heads within and around the communities while the bandits were operating on the ground.
“We saw a helicopter moving around the communities for about six times when the bandits were operating but the helicopter did not attack the bandits.
“We did not know what the helicopter was doing in the air because bandits were operating freely on the ground
He pointed out that “Immediately the bandits finished the operation and left, we did not see the helicopter again, so we don’t know whether it was providing cover for the bandit or to attack the bandits”.
He disclosed that the communities became helpless when all calls made to relevant security agencies to come to their rescue failed, adding that “in fact, the Divisional Police Officer attached to the area said, that they had no fuel in the car”.
The District Head, a retired police officer, disclosed that only the local vigilantes were on ground to provide some help but their ammunitions got exhausted after over 30 minutes of gun exchange with the bandits.
They, however, lost two of their men, leaving the bandits with only gunshot injuries.
Francis Daniel, a middle-aged man, who operates a computer centre at Kafin Koro, was shot and killed from a far distance of hundred metres, when he attempted to escape into the bush on sighting the bandits.
This incident is happening again, barely one year and two weeks after the last attack where the bandits on 9th January 2020, invaded Beni and other communities, kidnaping over 32 villagers, including the son of the District Head of Beni.
The bandits also asked for a ransom of N49million for the release of the abducted, asking the District Head to pay N17million out of the amount before they would release his son.