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Bandits kill 17, including policemen, abduct four Chinese in Niger

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Bandits have killed at least 17 people while injuring several others in an attack at a mining site managed by the Chinese Nationals at Ajata-Aboki in Gurmana Ward of Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State.

Reports said the bandits launched the attack on Wednesday afternoon during which seven persons, including mobile policemen guarding the miners and workers were killed.

The attackers, reportedly armed with sophisticated weapons, were said to have arrived in the community around 2pm and headed to the mining site, shooting at anyone on sight.

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The state Commissioner for Internal Security and Humanitarian Affairs, Emmanuel Umar, confirmed the attack in a statement on Thursday but said the number of casualties were yet to be ascertained.

He said, “Niger State Government wishes to confirm that on 29/6/2022 at about 1600hrs, based on a distress call received that bandits/terrorists invaded a mining site located at Ajata Aboki village via Erena Ward of Shiroro LGA and a joint security team were mobilized to the scene in response to the distress call.”

Umar said while the terrorists were engaged by the joint security team, resulting in casualties from both sides.

He added, “A yet-to-be ascertained number of workers in the mining site including four Chinese nationals were reported to have been abducted.

“Security forces mobilized reinforcement for the manhunt of the remaining terrorists and rescue of the injured victims including security personnel that sustained varying degrees of injury have been taken to a government medical facility in the state for treatment.

“While the Niger State Government commiserates with the heads of security agencies in the state and the families of the slain personnel, the state government assures that their sacrifices will not go in vain.”

Umar said the state government acknowledged all the effort of the joint security operatives and that of the communities in the state towards taming the spate of insecurity in some parts of the state.

A resident of the area however told Daily Trust in confidence that “about 11 people including seven mobile policemen attached to the mining site as security guards and six other civilian workers lost their lives in the attack.”

He said dozens, who sustained multiple gunshot injuries and were in critical conditions, had been taken to various medical facilities for treatment.

Sani Yusuf Kokki, Co-Convener, Concerned Shiroro Youths, also told Daily Trust that unspecified number of Chinese nationals were kidnapped, describing the attack as terrific and terrible.

He lamented that “Kidnap for ransom has become common phenomenon in our localities. It is quite unfortunate that we have been forced to coexist with this sad reality. We are being killed, maimed, raped among other inhuman subjugations by marauding terrorists.”

He added, “These rampaging terrorists attack their victims at will, ironically and unfortunately in some cases without slightest hindrance, resistance or confrontation from the conventional security. Sadly too, defenceless, unarmed and peaceful locals have crassly been abandoned to their fate thereby compelling them to wallow in perpetual agony and misery.