23 persons feared dead as gunmen attack bank in Niger state

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No fewer than 23 persons have been killed by bandits in communities in Rafi and Magama Local Government Areas of Niger State. A commercial bank was also attacked by the bandits who made away with an unspecified amount of cash.

While six were killed in Kagara town, headquarters of Rafi Local Government Area, 17 others were cut down at Dukku village in Magama Local Government Area. Several others, were injured in the attacks as some were abducted, while many fled into the bushes to escape the onslaught.

This came as three members of a kidnap syndicate were arrested on Wednesday in Ondo State by personnel of the security outfit, Amotekun corps. In the Kagara town attack, Vanguard gathered that the over one hundred bandits who stormed the town in scores of motorcycles, armed with sophisticated weapons, around 6pm on Wednesday, opened fire on anything in sight.

It was learned that while some of the bandits held Kagara town hostage, others operated in surrounding villages, moving from house to house, abducting residents and carting away cash and other valuables. The six persons reportedly killed in the attack included a Vigilante operative.

It was also reliably gathered that a commercial bank located in Kagara was raided and cash yet to be quantified carted away by the bandits. The bandits were said to have operated freely for close to 12 hours, between 6pm Wednesday to about 4am yesterday, without corresponding response from security agencies in the state before they eventually withdrew to their hideouts in adjoining forests.

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At press time, yesterday, many residents in the affected communities were said to still be hiding in bushes and are yet to return back home, while those in Kagara town, headquarters of the local government area, are hiding in their houses, afraid to come out. One of the residents in Kagara, who spoke with our correspondent on phone, confirmed that most residents were indoors and afraid to come out.

He said: “I am even afraid as I speak with you because I cannot speak out loud. Many people are inside their houses, unable to come out. The raid started around 6pm on Wednesday and overnight till about 4am Thursday (yesterday). Vanguard, however, gathered that a combined security team, including Army, Police, Air Force, and Civil Defence had been deployed to the area to keep vigil and restore peace.

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