Bandits kidnap chief Imam, 20 others in Niger community

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From Lilian Hosea, Abuja

The Chief Imam of Beni central mosque in Munya Local Government Area of Niger State, Malam Umar Mohammed and twenty other members of the community have been kidnapped. This happened a few days after armed bandits attacked some communities killing four soldiers.

The bandits invaded Beni in Munya local government and Kudami in Paikoro local government in the early hours of Wednesday causing mayhem. According to sources, the bandits numbering over 50 have been moving from one community to another dispossessing people of properties including cattle.

It was also gathered that the bandits met stiff resistance from people of Kudami, while they operated freely in Beni where they looted shops and houses and kidnapped Chief Iman on his way to a naming ceremony. It was also reported that four people have so far been killed in Beni while several others are in critical condition from gunshot injuries. The victims are said to be receiving treatment at the Kafin Koro general hospital.

The District Head of Beni, Alhaji Jafaru Umar Sarki who confirmed the attacks to our correspondent in a telephone interview in Minna said the invasion of the community by the bandits was the second in three days.

“They came three days ago and stole over 200 cows from Fulani men, and this morning they came again in their numbers. As I speak to you now they are busy looting shops and moving from house to house and collecting people’s property.

“So far four people have been killed, they shot another boy in the head and we don’t know if he will survive. They are so many in numbers, I can’t count them and they are all with guns. “The unfortunate thing is that we informed the security agents about it after the first attack but up till now nobody came to our rescue.

“The District Head disclosed that in July last year, two of his daughters were kidnapped on the eve of their marriage but only regained their freedom after the payment of ransom.”

Reacting to the attack, the Niger State government described the recent attack on some communities in Munya Local Government Area of the state that left four soldiers dead, as sad and unfortunate. The governor called for a fresh, holistic approach by the security agencies in tackling the banditry attack that has resurfaced in the state. This was contained in a press statement issued by the Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to Governor Abubakar Sani Bello, Mrs. Mary Noel Berje.

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