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Again, gunmen go gaga in Niger, massacre 37, burn houses, food stuffs in suspected reprisal attack  

From STEVECOLLINS OGIJI, Minna

Gunmen yesterday (Tuesday, January 11, 2022) went haywire in Niger communities, killing 37 people in what could be regarded as a reprisal attack after special hunters and local vigilantes killed scores of the gunmen on Friday last week.

The latest massacre took place yesterday at about 11:00am in Nakuna and Wurukuchi communities when the villagers were in their farms to harvest their farm produce.

While 10 people belonging to one family were killed right in their farm, 20 bodies were discovered in the bush, all in Nakuna.

Also in Wurukuchi, four members of one family were equally killed  in their farm.

The entire houses in Nakuna community with about 200 population were burnt down by the gunmen who invaded the community in search of local vigilantes, according to sources close to the community.

Also the gunmen who came in their numbers, burnt down all the food barns in the community before leaving.

It would be recalled that special hunters and local vigilantes, at the weekend, carried out special operations in communities in Shiroro and Munya Local Government Areas of the State where scores of the gunmen were killed while several others escaped with bullets injuries.

The gunmen, however, succeeded in capturing three of the special hunters who were still being held captive at the time of this report.

A 75-year old man, Mallam Yahaya Mota Nakuna whose six children and four others who came to assist them to harvest their farm produce were killed, narrated how the gunmen tied the hands of the children to their back before shooting them at close range.

Speaking through an interpreter, Mallam Yahaya said: “My children were in the farm harvesting yams when the gunmen came in their large numbers and demanded to know where the vigilantes who came to operate in the area were.

“I told them that we did not know any vigilantes, and they asked if we saw any vigilantes that passed through the village and we said we did not know. The next thing was that they asked all my children to come out of the farm and matched them to the village.

“They tied their hands to their backs and began to shoot them one after the other. They first of all beheaded one of them before shooting the remaining nine right in my front. After killing them, they loosened my hands and asked me to go”.

Mallam Yahaya who could not hold back his tears while narrating the ugly experience, pointed out that he refused to leave as instructed by the gunmen, instead, he invited a relation from a nearby village to come and help him bury his children before leaving the village.

According to him, “only two of us dug the graves and buried their bodies. We spent over five hours digging the graves to bury to them because we were just two,” he added.

Meanwhile the entire Zumba community is now flooded with Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) without food and shelter as hundreds, including women and children, have fled their homes.

The state Commissioner of police, Monday Kuryas, when contacted, confirmed the incident, but said the police was yet to ascertain the actual number of people killed, adding that security personnel had been deployed to the affected communities to restore normalcy.

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