Thirty-five persons have been declared missing in 17 communities in the Rafi and Shiroro Local Government Areas of Niger State, which were sacked by bandits nine days ago.
It was learnt that five persons were killed during the attack.
A victim of the attack in Shiroro, Aliyu Shuaibu, told our correspondent, on Tuesday, that the bandits were cattle rustlers, who were in the habit of raiding communities in the affected areas, “but this time, they kidnapped our people in large numbers.”
“The armed men stormed our village in broad daylight and shot repeatedly in the air; we had no choice but to flee into the forest. Some of the families of my community members kidnapped by the bandits have paid ransom to secure their freedom. At times, we go the extra mile to source for money to free some of the villagers held hostage by the bandits,” Shuaibu stated.
Another victim, Hafsat Ibrahim, said the attackers abducted women, children and men, and took away their valuables.
Hassan Garba, who was abducted alongside his siblings, said he was asked to provide N11m as ransom for their release.
“They released me to go and look for N11m ransom for the release of my siblings, but I got only N1m and they released all of us. I sold all our belongings to raise the N1m to secure the freedom of my siblings, otherwise, they would have been killed by now,” he said.
Governor Abubakar Bello has vowed to tackle the menace of the hoodlums, promising that his administration would provide adequate security for the people.
Bello made the vow when he visited the over 4,600 persons, who were displaced by the attackers and camped in the Kagara and Pandogari primary schools.
He stated that machinery was being put in place to ensure the quick return of the victims to their communities.
“We are here to assess the situation and to do whatever we can so that our people can return to their homes. We are taking actions that will further improve peace and security in the affected communities,” the governor said.