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Niger Villages Deserted as Terrorists Intensify Attacks

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Not less than 1,000 villagers have deserted their communities in Gurara Local Government Area of Niger State following sustained attacks by terrorists over the last two days.

Scores of people were also kidnapped in Kwampany-bobi in the Mariga Local Government Area of the state yesterday.

This is even as there is growing apprehension about the safety of the Catholic priest, Reverend Leo Ozigi, who was abducted by gunmen along Sarkinpawa- Minna road last Sunday afternoon.

THISDAY learnt that the terrorists unleashed terror on the villagers in Kabo, Kutayi, Zebena, Baradna, Gufana and Sabon- gari between Tuesday and Wednesday.

The gunmen, in their characteristics, rode on many motorcycles and all had sophisticated guns it was learnt.

“They ransacked the villages injuring many of the villagers and making away with their valuable items especially food and cash. They also reportedly burnt police operational vehicles” an eyewitness told THISDAY

He said the gunmen also set some houses on fire making many of the villagers to escape to safer communities.

It was learnt that armed security men have been dispatched to the communities to restore law and order.

THISDAY also gathered that some terrorists stormed Kwampany-bobi town in the Mariga Local Government area of the state in the early hours of  yesterday  wreaking havoc.

Several villagers, mostly women and children were abducted.

An eyewitness said the invasion started at about 11pm of Tuesday and continued till the early hours of  yesterday .

As I speak to you I can confirm that seven women and two men have been kidnapped, we don’t know their whereabouts.

It was the fourth  attack on Kwampany Bobi by bandits in recent times.

Meanwhile, there is apprehension over the safety of the Catholic Priest, Reverend Dr Leo Raphael Ozigi who was abducted by gunmen along the Sarkinpawa – Minna road on Sunday afternoon.

The apprehension has arisen following non-contact of the Catholic Church, the relations of the priest or the Christian Association of Nigeria CAN Niger state chapter.

One of the colleagues of the abducted clergyman, Reverend Basil Sarki told  THISDAY that “ Nobody has made contact with us but we are trusting God that he is alive”.

Sarki said he had personally retrieved the vehicle of the abducted clergyman from the spot where he was kidnapped.

“ I tried getting a mechanic to go with me but nobody wanted so I went with a rope tied the car to my own and drove it to safety. The  little offering collected at the mass conducted by the abducted clergyman and some of his books are intact in the car

“ They shot at the tyres of the car, I pray the bullet did not hit him” Basil said.

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