Banditry: A Month After Inauguration, Panel Yet To Visit Victims Of Reprisal Killings In Niger

Reprisal attacks are going on in several communities in Niger state despite the government’s effort to arrest the spate of violent attacks by suspected gunmen and bandits, PRNigeria can report.

It would be recalled that the Niger State Government, on November 3, 2021, set up a Commission of Enquiry, to unravel the cause of the bloody reprisals.

The eight-man Commission of Inquiry was tasked with investigating killings in Maza-Kuka, Addogon Malam Kulho and other communities in Mashegu Local Government Area of the State.

Governor Abubakar Sani Bello gave the Commission one month to submit its report.

He mandated the commission of inquiry led by Hon. Justice Danladi Ahmad to exercise justice and fairness and do a thorough investigation and inquiry, stressing that those found guilty must face punitive measures in accordance with the provisions of the law.

However, PRNigeria gathered that members of the Commission are yet to visit any of the communities for fact-finding in Mashegu and Kontagora axis, over month after their inauguration.

“The panel was set up following a reprisal attack by bandits in Maza-Kuka community on October 25, 2021 where at least 16 Muslim worshippers were killed and many injured in a mosque,” a source said.

PRNigeria learnt that the following day, gunmen suspected to be the vigilante group of Maza-Kuka invaded Adogon-Malam community, a Fulani settlement, and killed the District Head, his brother and others in retaliation.

Some hoodlums also joined in razing houses, while unspecified number of cattle, and other valuables including a motorcycle were looted.

It was however, learnt that police operatives later arrested the gang members involved in some of the attacks, especially on the mosque in Mazakuka.

While victims of the incessant attacks and unwarranted killings were expecting a visit by the Commission of Enquiry, another set of gunmen on November 8, stormed Ba’are village also in Mashegu Local Government Area and killed over 10 Muslim worshipers in another mosque.

PRNigeria gathered that the attackers first abducted residents but released some of them, especially women.

A security operative told PRNigeria that the senseless killings continued unabated in various communities because no concerted effort was taken by the government to address the grievances of some of the victims.

“The senseless and inexcusable killings in some communities are attributable to the inability of the government to adequately punish those flagrantly taking laws into their hands.

“The reprisal attacks which have the dimension of communal clashes, are fuelled by a long-term feud in the communities.

“In fairness to the governor, he expected the Commission of the Enquiry to have met with the families of the victims and community leaders on condolences and listen to their grievances and provide solutions and compensations to those that deserve them.

“But the Commission is yet to tour any of the affected communities or villages since its inauguration,” the source added.

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