The ceasefire pact signed between armed bandits and the Niger State Government has hit the rocks as gunmen on Wednesday sacked three communities and 1,200 residents homeless in Shiroro Local Government Area of the state.
The Niger State Governor, Abubakar Sani Bello, had few weeks ago pardoned and released about 30 bandits who have been terrorising parts of the state.
Bello said: “We signed a peace pact with them (bandits) and there is no better day to enforce that peace than today being World’s Peace Day, and I am pleased to inform you that since we had the Understanding, there has been peace in that part of the state.
“We have expended a a lot of resources using military solutions but at the same time we have decided to go into dialogue. And we found out that the dialogue we engaged in, is beginning to yield positive results in some parts of the state.”
The bandits who reneged on the agreement reached with the state government attacked Gyaramiya, Bataron Jatau and Bataron Waziri communities at about 10am on Wednesday.
It should be noted that one month ago, armed bandits attacked several communities in the same area, killing two women, a child and sacking over 5,000 persons from their homes.
According to an eyewitness who did not want his name mentioned, the armed men dispossessed members of the communities of their valuables, including foodstuffs and petroleum products.
He said: “The bandits did not kill anyone, but they threatened us to vacate our homes and leave for Allawa town in the same local government.”
In a telephone chat with our Correspondent, the District Head of Allawa, Ibrahim Salihu, confirmed that over 1,200 persons have been displaced and are currently in Allawa village looking for shelter and food.
Salihu however appealed to the Federal and State Governments to come to their aid.
When contacted, the Chief Press Secretary to the Niger state Governor, Mary Noel Berje, confirmed the attacks, saying: “A Joint Military Task Force and Air Force surveillance team have been mobilised by the government to dislodge and fish out the bandits from their hideouts.”
As at the time of filing this report, the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, DSP Mohammad Abubakar, said he was yet to receive any official report on the attacks from the Divisional Police Officer in the area.
The Police spokesman however pointed out that due to the difficulty of the terrain, communication to the area was a major challenge.