Gunmen attacks: Niger gov talks tough

From John Adams, Minna

Niger State governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello has described as insane and barbaric the attack on Nakurna and Wurukuchi communities in Shiroro Local Government area of the State by what he called a terrorist group which led to mass killing of villagers. The gunmen also burnt down the entire Nakurna village and their food barns in an attack which was believed to be a reprisal after special hunters and local vigilantes had earlier killed scores of gunmen last week in the area. The governor, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mary Noel Berje in Minna on Friday, said the attack by the gunmen was inhuman.

The statement however assured the people that “efforts would be intensified by government and security agencies to ensure that desperate terrorists, who are on the run, are captured and brought to justice.” He expressed regret that “the worrisome part of the security challenges is the inability of the farmers to harvest their farm produce which may likely trigger food scarcity in the state.

“We are worried by the nefarious activities of these terrorists. Desperation has been noticed amongst them as a result of the onslaught of security agents, which has made them to target unsuspecting rural inhabitants.

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“It is now time that full-fledged war should be declared on these unscrupulous elements since they have been described as terrorists. We cannot just allow these people to continue with this massacre”, he said.

Meanwhile the communities that were attacked by the gunmen have disagreed with the state police command over the death toll from the attack. The state police command had, in a statement on Thursday by the command Public Relation Officer, Wasiu Abiodun said contrary to media reports, only 13 people were actual killed by the gunmen. They however, said details of the incident were not immediately available due to the rough terrain and lack of communication network in the area.

The statement was however silent on the houses and food barns that were completely razed by the gunmen. But a former counsellor representing Galadiman Kogo, Hon. Joseph Waziri said nobody could  ascertain the number of people who lost their lives in the attack, stressing that the number of those who sustained injuries were also many. He equally said that the entire houses in Nakurna were razed by the gunmen.