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Friday, June 14, 2024

Bandits infiltrate Kebbi villages; President orders bombardment in Niger

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After months of bandits, kidnappers, and cattle hustlers having a field day, maiming, raping, and killing in Niger State, infiltrating and causing mayhem in neighbouring States, President Muhammadu Buhari, has giving marching orders to the Air Force to bombard the enclaves of the criminal elements in Niger.
This comes as the military and Police continue to engage the rogue elements on all fronts in the north-west of the country.
Katsina, Zamfara, Sokoto still experience attacks despite agreements between some of the criminal gangs and the State Governments, while in Kebbi, an onslaught by bandits and cattle hustlers that allegedly claimed four livess and led to rustled animals weeks ago in Kadurga, near Zuru, was retaliated with a counter-attack by security forces, when the bandits came calling the second time.
Unverified sources said not less than nine of the criminals were killed by the security forces drafted from Zuru.
There were also reports of bandit attacks in Wasagu and other villages in Kebbi, as State and Local Governments have initiated counter-measures to check-mate the ‘bad cowboys of the forests and hinterlands’. Many are thought to be foreigners of Fulani ethnic descent, who have crossed porous borders, in search of greener pastures.
Nigeria Everyday was told how a worried chief executive of an area in the north-west invited the head of a resettling group for a meeting. He was rebuffed. The leader invited him over, instead.
“At the meeting, which chief executive humbly opted to attend, only one chair was made available to him to sit, while the leader of the foreigners sat in one opposite him. Every other government official in the entourage of the ( chief executive) was kept standing.  In the course of the discussion, the (hief executive) was told by the leader of the foreigners they were invited to the area to protect some assets of their people and would leave only if they were paid an amount to refund to those who invited them. I know he was advised by the security people not to pay the amount that ran into hundreds of millions so the elements would not procure arms to overrun the (place)”, a source said.
This newspaper was unable to verify whether the security advise was followed or a political decision was taken.
Meanwhile, President Buhari has received assurances that with the harmattan dust gradually easing its hold on the skies, fighter aircraft would this week join the efforts to provide effective air attacks against bandits, kidnappers and cattle rustlers that have been attacking remote communities around Dogon Gona forest in Niger State, statement from his office has said.
The President, who described the repeated attacks leading to the losses of several lives in the communities “as a disaster for the nation,” had authorized the deployment of air power to support troops and policemen deployed to the “difficult terrain,” to counter the menace of the attackers operating in the forest area bordering Kaduna, Niger and Zamfara states.
In line with this directive, the Nigerian Air Force is setting up refueling facilities at Minna, Niger State to support the aircraft operations, giving assurances that given the improved weather conditions, a major exercise to “visually acquire targets” and launch attacks will soon follow.
The Police Command in Niger has equally given assurances that the planned dedicated air raids to complement the police helicopter gunship operations remain the best approach given the lack of motorized roads in the areas constantly under attack.
President Buhari commiserates with the government and people of Niger State following the attacks and the loss of lives that followed, and assures that victim communities in the state will not be abandoned by the rest of the country.

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