Bandits On A Killing Spree Over N3m ‘Tax’ In Niger Communities

BANDITS have killed no fewer than four farmers and abducted over 100 others including women and children from 14 communities in Mashegu and Rafi local government areas of Niger State in the last three weeks.

The bandits imposed N3 million tax on each of the communities as a condition to stop kidnapping them and to allow them to harvest their farm produce, only one of the communities had been able to pay. The bandits are said to be also stealing food they already harvested.

News Point Nigeria gathered that more than half of the victims were kidnapped while harvesting maize, beans, guinea corn and soya beans on their farms.

Those killed were a traditional ruler, two vigilantes and one other person during an invasion in Mashegu Local Government.

Daily Trust also reported that the communities attacked in Mashegu included Sabon-Rijiya, Tsohon-Rami, Bakwai-Bakwai, Mulo, Kawo-Mulo, Nasarawa-Mulo, Mai-Azara, Foje, Mutun-Daya, Beji, Gidan-Malam, Bokuta, Chetaku and Gbazhi, forcing residents to flee to Ibbi town and other safer places in the local government.

In Rafi and part of Shiroro local governments, 61 farmers were reportedly kidnapped in Gidigori, Pandogari and Durumi communities in the last two weeks.

Residents said rural communities in Mashegu, Mariga, Kontagora, Rafi and Shiroro were still not as safe as widely publicised in some sections of the media.

One of them, Mohammed Sanusi, told our correspondent that one of the vigilantes he simply identified as Abubakar was shot dead after he was abducted alongside other villagers on Thursday when bandits attacked Mulo and adjoining communities during which the village head of Mulo, Alhaji Usman Garba, was also killed.

“Attacks have been going on for the past three weeks in villages in Mashegu Local Government. Right now, over 50 people are in the hands of bandits. One vigilante was killed in Tsohon-Rami on Sunday.

He was kidnapped alongside other people in Mulo and other communities on Thursday and he was shot dead. Another vigilante was also killed on his farm in Tsohon-Rami recently. They met him harvesting his crops on his farm and they killed him with a cutlass. Right now, we cannot harvest our crops. Maize, guinea corn, beans and soya beans are getting spoiled on our farms,” he said.

Another resident, Abdulrahman Inuwa, told our sources that residents of Fage and Mulo have all fled their homes.

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