From John Adams, Minna
A group of unidentified on Saturday afternoon invaded Gwada community in Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State, killing a policeman and four other people.
Scores of the villagers were said to have been abducted by the gunmen, including an unspecified number of cattle that were carted away in a broad daylight.
Among the villagers killed were two children and two women, all Internally Displaced Persons that were relocating from Zumba IDP Camp to Gwada IDP camp.
The lorry conveying the victims was shot at by the gunmen in an attempt to force it to stop when they met their death. Several others sustained serious injuries and are currently receiving treatment in an undisclosed government facility in the area.
A source close to the Gwada community where the incident occurred told our correspondent that the policeman was killed when the Joint Security Task Force went after the gunmen, resulting in a fierce gun battle.
One of the gunmen was killed and many others ran away with bullets wounds. Six motorcycles belonging to the gunmen have so far been recovered.
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At the time of this report, the Joint Security Task Force was on the trail of the gunmen in the bush.
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Gwada community is about 20 kilometres from Minna, the Niger State capital, and is host to over 3,000 Internally Displaced Persons with more still trooping in as the gunmen intensify their attacks on local communities.
The latest attack is coming barely five days into an ongoing military operation in the area with the deployment of heavy troops.
Our efforts to reach the Commissioner for Local government and Internal Security, Mr Emmanuel Umar, for confirmation were unsuccessful.
A senior official of the Niger State Emergency Management Agency, however, confirmed the story on condition of anonymity, saying: ‘We have heard something like that but we don’t have the details yet.’