HomeNewsHuman InterestBandits strike Niger communities again, as residents seek refuge in FCT 

Bandits strike Niger communities again, as residents seek refuge in FCT 

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Residents of Garam, a community in Tafa Local Government of Niger State which shares a boundary with the nation’s capital, Abuja, have fled the area following a third consecutive brutal operations by  bandits.

The displaced residents are now seeking refuge in urban areas of the Federal Capital Territory FCT.

Garam, which shares a boundary with Kuduru, another troubled community in Bwari Area Council of the FCT, has been under severe attacks from bandits since December 24, 2023.

The raging attacks, on Wednesday also spread to Zuma community in the Bwari Area Council.

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Recall that on December 24, bandits invaded Garam community, which is five minutes drive from Bwari in the FCT, killing a pastor with the Redeemed Christian Church of God, while kidnapping 13 other persons.

On December 28, bandits again invaded Kuduru, in FCT, kidnapping 18 persons.

Similarly, on Friday, December 29, bandits invaded Azu in Niger state, killing three people and kidnapping eight others.

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However, following the ceaseless attacks, residents of Garam decided against observing the Watchnight or Crossover Service on December 31, 2023.

A resident of the community who pleaded anonymity said most churches in the area observed the crossover service between 5pm and 8pm, while a handful of churches with adequate security observed the crossover service between 10pm and 4am.

The source added that the bandits returned on January 2, 2024 kidnapping a whole family, adding that the soldiers stationed in Azu, a neighbouring community, only arrived after the bandits had left.

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He said; “Due to the fear of bandits, most churches did not observe crossover service on December 31. Some churches observed the service between 5pm and 8pm. It was only MFM that observed the service from 11pm till 4a.m.

“Though soldiers patrol the community during the day, it has not stopped bandits from attacking the people at night.

“On January 2, an Igala man was attacked, the bandits kidnapped the whole family. They came with their tools to force the gate of the house open. They operated for 2 to 3 hours. The sound of their guns forced the vigilance team to flee. The soldiers arrived after they had left.”

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Another resident said people are moving out of Garam in droves, while those who built houses there have sought refuge in other places, adding that the sprawling community is now being deserted.

The source added that it appears the bandits are targeting those with cars who can easily muster ransom payments if kidnapped.

It was gathered that the bandits again entered Garam on Monday night and operated into the early hours of Tuesday where they reportedly abducted three persons.

“The man who most residents described as NEPA staff i.e Abuja Electricity Distribution Company Staff was unlucky as bandits broke into his house, forcefully kidnapped him, his wife and nephew and escaped with them on motorcycles into the bush”, Vanguard gathered.

 

Attack on Zuma

Wednesday’s early morning attack on Zuma reportedly led to the shooting of two security personnel who were said to be receiving treatment in an undisclosed hospital, while a yet to be ascertained number of persons were abducted.

The Wednesday morning attack would be the fifth in the series since the attacks began on Christmas eve, with residents putting the estimates of kidnapped people at over 55.

Although, three persons were killed in the series, a fourth, was reported to have died based on the traumatic experience of losing her husband to the kidnappers.

“The fourth person who died was the wife of the Redeemed Christian church of God Pastor who was earlier killed in the presence of his family.

“She was recovering when the bandits called her line to place a ransom on her two kidnapped children who are presently in the bandits’ camp. Having heard the demands, the woman who could not bear the grief of the loss of her husband and agony of her two tender children who are within the ages of seven and nine, slumped, reportedly went into a coma and later gave up the ghost on Tuesday”, said a community source.

 

 

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