Gunmen, all in masks, in the wee hour of Sunday invaded Ajapayi community in Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State, killing no fewer than 12 people and injured 15 others in an attack described as the worst in the community.
The gunmen, eye witness said, laid siege to the community and its environ for over 78 hours before unleashing terror on the people, killing them with reckless abandon and displacing thousands while others fled for their lives.
An eye witness account said that villages around Kwaki area of the local government had been deserted by the residents even as the gunmen had continued to wreak havoc on the fleeing villagers, chasing them into their hideouts.
Communities around Shiroro, Munya and Rafi local government, it was learnt, had been under the siege of gunmen fleeing military operations in Zamfara, Katsina and Kaduna states.
Speaking on the recent attacks, David Umoru, the senator representing Niger East senatorial district in whose constituency the attack occurred, expressed shock over the calamity that had befallen his people, adding that “I have been receiving distress calls in the past three days from my people regarding the armed attack in the area.
“I am very sad about the continued invasion of our communities and the waste of innocent lives with impunity while the security appeared to be overwhelmed.”
He, therefore, appealed to security agencies especially the police and military to deploy more personnel to the area to save the lives of helpless villagers now living in perpetual fear of the unknown.
The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) of the Niger State police command confirmed the attack but said that only one person was killed while 15 others were injured in the attack.
He said that the gunmen were cattle rustlers who had rustled cows that refused to move after reaching the community, adding that the hoodlums resorted to attacking everybody who came close to them in the believe that they were coming to attack them.
He explained that the incident occurred in Ajapayi via Kwaki village in Shiroro local government, a very difficult terrain not accessible even with a motorcycle.
He said that the police were on top of the situation adding that “we are trailing the perpetrators and will surely arrest them and make them to face the wrath of the law. The DPO of the area has led a contingent of police men including mobile policemen to the area.”