Police, Vigilante kill nine bandits in Niger

No fewer than nine armed bandits have been killed through the combined efforts of police and local vigilantes in Kagara, in Rafi Local Government Area of Niger State.

According to the state police command, which confirmed the joint security operation, the armed bandits met their Waterloo after a heavy exchange of gunfire with the police and local vigilantes which lasted hours.

This is coming barely a week after bandits, 30 in number, invaded Shagari low-cost housing estate in Kagara town, killing one person and kidnapped 17 persons.

Among those kidnapped was the wife of the Education Secretary of Chanchaga local government who is also an elder brother to the Chief of Staff to Governor Abubakar Sani Bello, Hajiya Simbiat Lawal and her six-month-old baby, and six grandchildren of a former commissioner, Alhaji Tanko Inga.

The bandits, riding in a convoy about 30 motorcycles, had at that incident, stormed the Shagari low-cost housing in Kagara town at about 2:00 am and shot sporadically into the air to announce their presence before moving from house to house, picking their victims in an operation which lasted several hours.

This time around, however, the bandits ran into an ambush by the police and local vigilantes in Karaya, Mahanga and Bakachi villages about 2:30 am on Saturday on their way to carry out a new attack.

Police spokesman ASP Wasiu Abiodun, who confirmed the killing, explained that the armed bandits engaged the police and the vigilantes in a gun battle at Makujeri village, less than four kilometres from the Kagara headquarters of Rafi Local Government Area, before they made a retreat.

The Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in Kagara was, however, quick to mobilise backup with some extra vigilantes to engage the armed bandits, the spokesman said.

According to him, six of the bandits were killed in the gun battle, while three others who escaped with bullets wound, ran towards Mekujeri village but were intercepted by the locals, lynched and burnt to death.

ASP Wasiu disclosed that 150 cattle and 200 sheep were recovered from bandits.

The Chairman of Rafi Local Government Area, Alh Ismaila Modibo, also confirmed the incident in a telephone interview and advised his people not to panic.

The Chief of Staff, Niger State Government House, Alh Ibrahim Balarabe, has visited the area and assured the public of the commitment of the government to rid the state of criminals.

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