herdsmen (2)

Some yet-to-be identified gang of cattle rustlers in the early hours of Thursday wrecked havoc on some communities within Allawa and Pandogari axis of Shiroro and Rafi Local Government Areas of Niger State, killing about 16 persons in separate attacks on the communities, Newsline On Sunday reliably gathered.

The suspected rustlers, who were armed to the teeth, had  sacked four communities of Kukoki, Roro, Karaga, and Tegina Kabata in the two local government areas of the state.

Newsline On Sunday gathered that villagers in these communities had since deserted their homes and no fewer than  1,000 cattle and other animals had been forcefully carted away by the rustlers.

It was gathered also that the rustlers, who go about in the thick forest of Allawa, were  armed with sophisticated weapons, such as AK 47 guns, automatic pump action riffles, locally fabricated pistols, and other dangerous weapons.

Newsline On Sunday findings revealed that the suspected cattle rustlers who carried out the attack were those dislodged from Zamfara, Katsina, Kaduna, and Kebbi States. They were said to have  relocated to some parts of Niger State. 

Our findings further revealed that the suspected rustlers moved about in large numbers with their weapons,  dispossessing the rural dwellers  of their belongings and cash  amounting to millions of naira, including farm produce.

According to one Fulani community leader, Alh. Mohammed Tukur, the cattle rustlers had so far rendered many Fulani families homeless, with their children and the aged now relocated in Pandogari and Kagara for refuge in fear of another round of attack.

In an emotional laden voice, Alh. Tukur, who is the Niger State Chairman, Miyetti Allah Kautalhore, confirmed to Newsline On Sunday that in the early hours of Thursday, six persons, four Fulani and two indigenes of Allawa were killed and one person sustained a deep cut from the attack by the rustlers while the remaining 10 others were said to have been killed within Roro and Karanga communities in Rafi Local Government Areas.

He further told Newsline On Sunday that at least 20 houses in some of the villages were deserted as a result of the invasion by the suspected rustlers and that their security can no longer be guaranteed in the state.

Speaking in a telephone interview with Newsline On Sunday, the District Head of Allawa in Shiroro Local Government Area, Alh. Ibrahim Adamu, stated that his community is under siege, following the resumption of the activities of the cattle rustlers and other criminal elements in the area and requested for the deployment of adequate security personnel to the community as, according to him, the soldiers posted to the community are also ill-equipped to confront these cattle rustlers due to their sophisticated weapons.

“The soldiers posted to Allawa are not adequately equiped to confront these cattle rustlers. These people are more armed than the soldiers. They cannot go near their hideout in the forest. I am calling on the state government to deploy more security agents to assist the soldiers to free my community that is now under siege”, he submitted.

The Police Public relation Officer (PPRO) in the state, Mr. Bala Elkana DSP, told Newsline On Sunday that the Commissioner of Police in the state, Alh. Zubairu Mu’azu had since deployed a joint team of armed mobile policemen and men of the Anti Rustling Squad of the command to the forest.

He said so far two persons have been arrested.

He said the arrested suspects are currently assisting the command with useful information on the activities of the rustlers and assured that more arrests would be made, “as our men are already in the forest engaging them”.

He told Newsline On Sunday that the command only received a report of six people killed and, “I am not aware of the killing of 16 persons. All I can officially tell you from our own records is that six persons have so far been killed by the rustlers”.