Saturday, May 15, 2021

Residents flee as Boko Haram hoist flag in Niger

…conquer 50 villages, as over 4,569 villagers relocate to IDP camps

The Niger state residents are now living in palpable fear as the Governor Abubakar Sani Bello on Monday disclosed that the dreaded Boko Haram terrorists have established their presence after hoisting their flag in Kaure village.

As the Governor disclosed that the terrorists group have taken over some parts of the state where they have made spontaneous attacks, some persons have started relocating to Minna, the state capital for safety.

He also said that, not less than 50 villages across five Local Government Areas have been deserted thereby causing humanitarian crisis in the State as displaced persons now roam Minna, the State capital.

While speaking with Journalists during a visit to an IDP camp in IBB primary school close to the Emir’s Palace, Minna, the Governor expressed fears that parts of the state have been taken over by the terrorists.

According to him “I am confirming to you that there are Boko Haram elements around Kaure in Shiroro local government of Niger state. They have taken over the territory. They have installed their flag.

“I confirm to you now that they have taken over the wives of some people by force. Their wives have been seized from them and forcefully attached to Boko Haram elements

“Majority of the displaced persons will have to remain in this camp in Minna because their villages have been taken over by Boko Haram terrorists and bandits”.

Furthermore, the Governor warned that “the Boko Haram terrorist are trying to make Kaure their home and headquarters like they did to Sambisa forest. You know, Sambisa forest is serveral kilometres away from Abuja, but Kaure is only two hours drive to Abuja.

“We have, as an administration engaged the federal government severally to come to our aid in dealing with the insecurity. I can tell you that such efforts have not yielded the desired results thereby making it possible for the terrorists to now occupy areas of the state.

“Well, unfortunately it has gotten to this stage and if care is not taken, even Abuja is not safe. We have been saying this for long and all efforts have been in vain”.

Earlier, the Governor said when he declared open a two day workshop on strategies for enhancing Internally Generated Revenue of Local Government Councils in Minna, Niger State.

“In the last couple of days, cases of bandit attacks in the area have been on the increase following the withdrawal of security operatives from Allawa, Bassa and Zagzaga after bandits sacked the security bases killing some soldiers and burning their operational vehicles.

“As we speak we have not less that 50 villages deserted across 5 local governments now where do we get the resources to take care of them if 80% of our resources goes to those that do not add value to the system?

“Now we have to deal with humanitarian problems and security problems. All these require resources that we do not have. So, the only way we can survive is to increase our IGR.

“At the moment we have over 3,000 IDPs in Minna, apart from other local governments, the Governor said.

Our Correspondent however gathered that over 1,569 villagers have now relocated to various internally displaced persons (IDPs) camp in Sarkin Pawa, the headquarters of Munya Local Government Area, just as the Governor confirmed that “at the moment, there are over 3,000 IDPs in Minna”.

According to eyewitnesses, more than eight communities in Fuka district of Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State have also been completely deserted following the raid on the villages by bandits on Saturday night.

The raid on the villages according to the eyewitnesses was by about 100 bandits who rode two on a motorcycle with each carrying AK-47 rifles.

Findings have it that the bandits first attacked a popular businessman, Alhaji Doma Fuka, before proceeding to the house of a member of the Niger State House of Assembly, Mr Andrew Jagaba Doma.

At their residences, they were said to have rustled several cattle and injured many of the residents.

An eyewitness said that men of the vigilante had mounted a spirited search for both the bandits and the cattle to no avail.

The following villages have been completely deserted, the eyewitness told Our Correspondent on phone that Unguwan magaji with 250 people; Kulgbaku with 450 villagers; Lukodna with 152 people; Kakuru with 265 villagers; Abuza 50 people; Kudam with 156 people; Dnakogbe with 78 people; and Kubaidnapa with 168 villagers.

According to one of the eyewitnesses “I can confirm to you that there are no persons in these villages, the bandits have turned the villages to their hiding places and cooking centres.”

Addressing the Governor at the IDPs camp, a Youth Leader, Bulus Esu said his people in Kuchi one of the most populated town in Munya local government have been locked down by the terrorists for the past three weeks.

He said, “For three weeks now there is no person living in Kuchi town and there is no food for the fleeing villagers. The bandits have entered very deep into the area and have overran several villages. They have occupied Kuchi where they now sleep as their homes”.

Esu said the bandits had two weeks ago demanded five million naira ransom from the people of Kampana to save themselves from being kidnapped.

He added that “the people did this to avoid being kidnapped. However, when they came back the next time, they asked the women to cook food for them after which they still raped the women”.

A member of staff of the Niger State Emergency Management Agency, who spoke to Journalists on phone on account of anonymityf fromSarkin Pawa town, disclosed that, “I can confirm to you that the number of IDPs in Sarkin pawa has increased seriously this morning because of the influx of people from other villages.”

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