The state’s security coordinator has confirmed the killing of at least 22 people in Nigeria’s central state of Niger by some gunmen on motorbike. Majority casualties being from local vigilante groups. Some police officers were also killed.
This was executed in two separate attacks in central Nigeria, officials confirmed Friday referring this as the latest violence by cattle rustlers in the region.
Sources report that in the first attack, dozens of assailants riding on motorcycles attacked Dukku in Rijau district to kidnap locals for ransom but local vigilantes engaged them in a gunfight. “There was a gun battle in which 18 vigilantes were killed by the criminals,” , Kabiru Muhammad Maikundi, the state director of security said when being questioned.
In a separate attack on the same day, another armed gang invaded Kagara in nearby Rafi district, breaking into a bank but failing to enter the vault killing three police officers and a civilian. The state has however denied any stealing of money.
A team of policemen engaged the assailants in a “fierce battle” in which four people were killed, he said. State police commissioner Adamu Usman confirmed the toll during a visit to Kagara on Thursday, adding that the victims included a policeman and a vigilante.
As one of several states in central and north-western Nigeria where armed criminal gangs frequently carry out killings, looting and kidnappings for ransom, the state has struggled in recent months to stop attacks by armed criminal gangs. Armed gangs of cattle thieves and kidnappers regularly raid villages in central and northwestern Nigeria, killing and kidnapping people as well as looting and burning homes. Security experts, in fact have warned that jihadist groups may have infiltrated the area.
The state’s security coordinator, retired Colonel Kabiru Muhammad Maikundi, said the gunmen were thought to have been planning to kidnap residents when they arrived on motorbikes in the town of Dukku in Rijau area.
Niger state government security officials said the gunmen were killed in the two incident, the number however is still unconfirmed.