fate of wife and children unknown 2 months after

By Wole Mosadomi, Minna

FOR the past three months, bandits have shifted their onslaught to Shiroro and Munya local government areas of Niger State. In the past few years, 18 of the 25 local government areas have been under the siege of the bandits, but now full attention has been shifted to Shiroro and Munya. In these two local government areas, no fewer than 100 communities have been sacked and the natives taken to Gwada where they are being camped as refugees.

Life is unbearable for them there because of the exploding population and without sufficient food, water and medicines to take care of them. In Shiroro Local Government Area, there are15 political wards with many communities, while there are 13 political wards in Munya with many other communities looking for means of sustenance. But virtually all the communities in these two local government areas have been sacked by bandits who raid them at will, kill, maim, raze their houses or food barns and abduct those they want at will.

Those who were lucky to escape the onslaught have gory tales of what they passed and still passing through to tell. One of them is Pastor Dauda Yosi Kwaki of Cherubim and Seraphim Movement Church in Mangorata Town in Munya Local Government Area of the state. Pastor Kwaki spoke with Arewa Voice after escaping massacre by the bandits along with his family of eight.

He said: “Our community was invaded by the bandits on March 27 and they broke into my church and residence with the aim of killing me and my family, but God saved us. Out of annoyance, they destroyed the pulpit, chairs, drums and other musical instruments they met. They also forced the door of my house open and carted away all valuables they could lay their hands on. I was hiding by the river close to my church with others also in the bush and heard them banging on the doors of the church. I escaped into a nearby bush where I stayed for 19 days virtually with nothing to eat or drink before I finally escaped to Gurusu village where I am presently managing.”

Pastor Kwaki said he has one wife and seven children, but that they are now forced to stay apart as a result of frequent bandit attacks on them. “My wife and five of our seven children have temporarily relocated to Nasarawa State, while the two other children are now in Gurusu in Niger State. Since January, I have not been able to see my wife and the other five children, while I have not also set eyes on the two others residing in Niger state,” he said.

While noting that residents in these two local government areas cannot specifically explain the cause of the frequent raid on them by the gunmen, he said: “Since we have been residing in these communities, we have never witnessed the type of raid on us like it happened few weeks ago. The bandits rode on 300 motorcycles with each carrying no fewer than two passengers and fully armed. They divided themselves into three groups with some in Kapana and Dangunu from where they carried out their dastardly act on the people.”

The pastor called on local, state and federal governments to join hands to fight the bandits whom he said have taken over the state, especially Munya and Shiroro local government areas. On the likelihood of the villagers returning to their ancestral homes to continue with their lives, he said the people have to choose between life and death. “Except there are strong indications by government to provide the fleeing villagers adequate security, going back to the communities may not be feasible for now because the bandits are still in their locations close to the two local government areas and still ravaging the people.”

The man of God said that in the past few months, most churches in these two Christian dominated local government areas have not been able to worship freely as most members have fled the communities after having close shave with death on several occasions. The state Commissioner for Local Government and Internal Security, Emmanuel Umar, in an interview with Arewa Voice, said the state had taken steps to review the security architecture of Munya LGA following incessant attacks on some communities there.

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