Bandits have held in hostage 30 vilagers in kutunku town, Wushishi Local Government yesterday.
The bandits stormed the village on foot at about 1:30am and rounded up the villagers. The bandits, it was gathered, hid their motorcycles in a bush close to the village and trekked to their target, a development that did not arouse the suspicion of the villagers until it was too late.
A source disclosed that those abducted included 20 Gbagyi made up of 11 men and nine females, nine Fulani and one person of another tribe.
“They forced them (abductees) to trek along with them to their camp,” a source said.
The bandits are yet to contact families of the victims at press time.
One of the women abducted, according to the source, was billed to be married this weekend
A senior local government official said a report was made to the Divisional Police Officer in Zungeru “but we are yet to hear from him.”
All efforts to get police confirmation of the story proved abortive.
But chairman of Rafi Local Government Area, Alhaji Ismaila Modibo Kagara, confirmed the incident.
According to him, 24 persons were kidnapped, adding that names of the victims have not been ascertained.
Alhaji Modibo said the bandits also went to nearby Adidi village where they kidnapped one Ibrahim Gamaagi before moving to another village where they abducted unspecified number of persons.
Last week, 18 persons traveling in three commercial vehicles were abducted at Kundu in the same local government area.
Worried by the rising security challenges, Governor, Abubakar Sani Bello, has declared that henceforth, vigilance groups would bear pump action guns.
The vigilantes had complained that lack of modern weapons was the greatest challenge in their fight against bandits who they said were equipped with modern and sophisticated weapons.
Speaking at Kasuwan Garba in Mariga Local Government Area when he met with over 200 vigilantes as part of his moral boosting visits across the state, the governor said henceforth, all vigilantes in the state would be armed with automatic pump action to enable them take the fight to the bandits in their hideouts.
Also, contrary to demands of the bandits in a viral audio that government disband the vigilante group as one of the conditions for a ceasefire, the governor said: “We’re not going to disband the vigilantes as a result of threat from the bandits. Even when banditry activities in the state stop, the vigilantes will still be there to provide security at the local government areas.”
He re-emphasised government’s stands not to go into any form of negotiation with bandits nor pay ransom for the release of kidnapped victims in the state. He, however, assured that any bandit that repents and surrender their weapon would be reintegrated into the society and settle to live a normal life.
“There will be no dialogue but any of them that repent and surrender his weapons will be forgiven and we will compensate such bandits to be able live a normal live in the society.”
Earlier, Chairman of Mariga LGA, Alhaji Idris Suleiman, told the governor that 50 members of the vigilante picked from each of the four districts have successfully kept the activities of the bandits at bay, adding that “the people are having some level of peace across the 22 villages hitherto under siege from Bandits. The vigilantes are on top of the security situation. What they need is modern equipment to be able to confront these bandits who are carrying automatic weapons.”