BY VICTOR BUORO – Following concern over the terrorizing activities of bandits in the State, a 70 year old female spiritualist has led a team of local hunters’ on mission aimed at eliminating bandits in Zuguruma, Mashegu Local Government Area of Niger state.
In the process, the hunters alleged that thy succeeded in killing about 40 of the bandits that have made life unbearable for the communities in the area.
One of the local hunters, Mallam Alhassan, who was part of the operation, told journalists that his team adopted a tactics of shooting into the air sporadically to scare the bandits out of their hideouts in the Zuguruma forest.
Alhassan said that the plan was to get the bandits come out but they fell cheaply to it by exhausting their bullets before coming out, a development that made it easy to get them killed in the process.
According to him; “The bandits were shooting without a particular target until their bullets finished. It was at that point that we descended on them and killed 40 of them.”
Alhassan said that several weapons that include machine gun, anti-aircraft gun and rocket launchers amongst others, were recovered and handed over to the police.
Alhassan said that there was no single casualty recorded on the side of the hunters, adding that an antelope that was trying to escape from the fireworks got killed by the hunters.
The Niger State Police Command is yet to confirm the development even as an unofficial source within the command said the operation is ongoing adding that the public would be informed through the media at the end of the exercise.
It was however gathered that Governor Abubakar Sani-Bello of Niger State, who is disturbed about the ungodly activities of the bandits in his state, enlisted the female spiritualist known to be powerful to assist the state in ridding the state of bandits.
It was gathered that the killing of the 40 bandits is the first operation the female septuagenarian would be leading hunters into the forest.
Information pieced together indicate that luck ran out of one of the commanders of the bandits and three others that went into town to buy recharge cards and other basic necessities for the group as they were arrested and handed over to the state police command and presently assisting the police in investigations.
The cheery news in the fight against the bandits came barely one week after the Niger state government declared prayers in mosques and churches against the bandits.
Reacting to the incident, Governor Sani-Bello said local militia, community vigilante groups and local hunters must collaborate with security agencies in a renewed effort to engage and completely chase away kidnappers, cattle rustlers and armed bandits in the country.
Sani-Bello in statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mrs Mary Noel Barje, expressed joy over the success recorded by the efforts of the spiritualist and the hunters, saying a radical approach towards the bandits had become necessary.
He said; “We must not allow them to send us out of our respective homes. We have to defend our territories and it has started in Niger and we have started recording success in that direction.”
Baraje, who quoted her principal who spoke on Saturday at Zuru, Kebbi state, where he was special guest of honour at the civic reception organised by the Zuru Patriotic Forum, noted that the most affected states of Kebbi, Zamfara, Kaduna and Niger are in talks to perfect the new strategy in order to address the situation that has hindered development and deprived the people of their means of livelihood.