Bandits kill 200 people, injure 300 others in Nigeria’s Niger state

Wednesday January 19 2022
Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps

Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps are engaged in a special operation against bandits in North West. PHOTO | MOHAMMED MOMOH | NMG



Bandits attacked Nigeria’s North Central Niger state, near Federal Capital Territory (FCT), killing at least 200 people in 17 days.

More than 300 people have been wounded, and hundreds others abducted by bandits who attacked some communities in the State this month.

The governor of the state, Mr Abubakar Bello, held a closed door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari and discussed the security situation in the region.

After the meeting was over, he said that criminals, who have been proscribed as terrorists by the Federal Government, also invaded hundreds of communities and abducted many residents.

“From January 1 to January 17, we have suffered not less than 50 reported attacks and loss of lives between,” the governor said.


“The number of people kidnapped is more than 800, including three Chinese nationals. We also lost 25 security personnel during the missions.

“Unfortunately, we lost about 165 civilians and 30 local vigilantes. So, it’s a very dire situation that we have been battling in the last few weeks since the beginning of this year,” the governor added.

He lamented that residents in some communities in the state have continued to pay ransoms to terrorists in exchange for protection against attacks on their settlements.

Stressing that such payments were not enough to stop the attacks, he appealed to the people in the affected communities not to pay any money to the terrorists.

Governor Bello called for the massive recruitment of security personnel and deployment to the state in order to bring the situation under control.

Although he admitted that there were serious concerns about sustaining the fight against the terrorist group, he is optimistic that respite would come to residents of the affected communities in two weeks, with the current level of intervention.

But the governor stated that informants within the communities constitute a major challenge and urged states sharing borders with Niger, including Kebbi and Kaduna states, to come together in the fight against the criminals.

“We still have some communities where ransoms are being collected,” he said.

“We will try to discourage them (residents) from paying such ransoms because even when they pay ransoms, it doesn’t stop the bandits from attacking them again.

“When you pay levies to bandits, they use such money to purchase weapons and they come back to attack you,” he added.

Meanwhile, Niger State Police Command on January 19, 2022 confirmed the killing of three police personnel and two vigilantes in a fierce gun battle with armed bandits in Kwanar-Dutse, Mariga Local Government.

In a statement issued by police spokesman, Mr Wasiu Abiodun, the Niger State Command, said it received information regarding the movements of bandits along Bangi-Mangoro road in Mariga.

According to Mr Abiodun, the command immediately mobilised tactical teams and vigilantes attached to Bangi Division to the area where the criminals were then engaged in a fierce gun battle at Kwanar-Dutse.

He added that three policemen and two vigilante members lost their lives during the gunfight, noting, however, that scores of bandits were neutralised while others escaped into the forest with bullet injuries.

Abiodun further stated that the Commissioner of Police, CP Bala Kuryas, has reassured members of the public of the command’s determination not to relent in the ongoing onslaught against banditry and other criminality in the State.

Insecurity levels 

According to the statement, the commissioner also solicits for more cooperation and support from the people, stressing that it is only with the support of the citizens that the fight against banditry can be won.

Meanwhile, Nigeria’s Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who is irked by the increased insecurity levels, said that even though "the soul of the North, and of Nigeria by extension, is being contested by some of the most destructive and evil forces in contemporary history," the government firmly resolved to resist and defeat them.

Prof Osinbajo, who was a Special Guest of Honour at the 8th Sir Ahmadu Bello Foundation Memorial Lecture on Tuesday in Kano, said that “It is a fight we are determined to win. And we know that by the grace of God, all of these evil forces will be completely exterminated."

He said that in many communities, the military and law enforcement agencies were partnering with local age-grade groups, hunters, and various associations under the sanction of the traditional leadership to tackle bandits and terrorists.

"The Federal Government has remained resolute in the fight against terrorists and insurgents. Recent efforts have focused on deploying technology for surveillance, intelligence gathering and attack.

 "We will also continue to encourage collaboration between the Federal Ministry of Justice, their State counterparts, and law enforcement, to ensure that those who have been apprehended for terrorism and violent crimes are effectively prosecuted."