By Ismail Auwal
At least 19 people have been kidnapped by gunmen in Ogu and Tegina communities in Rafi Local Government Area (LGA) of Niger State.
The Chief of Staff to Rafi LGA Chairman, Mohammed Mohammed, confirmed the incident to Channels Television on Monday.
A resident of Ogu, Kamal Wayam, decried that the attackers stormed the community on Sunday morning and started shooting into the air.
“The gunmen in their large number arrived in Ogu on motorcycles and before we knew what was happening, they started shooting into the air.
“They ransacked people’s houses and whatever valuable they could lay their hands on, they carted away,” Wayam said during his conversation with Mohammed.
He added, “They also abducted six persons from Ogu. Four of the persons abducted were members of one family while the other two were visitors to the community.”
Ogu is a settlement close to Wayam, another community about two kilometres from Kagara, the headquarters of Rafi LGA.
Similarly, the attack on Tegina community was said to have happened at about 12:30am on Monday with 16 people abducted.
“The gunmen entered the room of my daughter that night, but she hid herself under the bed, while her husband went up the ceiling,” Sani Gamachindo, a resident of the community, told Mohammed.
He added, “When the gunmen entered their room, they spent like 30 minutes and ate almost all the food in the kitchen. Thank God they were not abducted, but 16 persons were kidnapped.”
The latest attacks in Rafi LGA came barely four days after gunmen abducted a youth leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), the District Head of Gunna, and two children of two health workers in Garin Gabbas and Yakila communities in the local government.
Elsewhere, a pastor with the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA), Jeremiah Ibrahim, was killed by gunmen in Chukuba community in Shiroro LGA.
The clergyman who was serving at the branch of the church in Kuta was murdered on Friday last week.
A senior official of the church in Minna, who pleaded anonymity, said Pastor Ibrahim had gone to check his farm in Chukuba and decided to visit a colleague who was the resident pastor of Chukuba where he was attacked and killed.
“This is coming barely two weeks after six missionaries of ECWA and the wife of one of them were abducted,” he added.
He stated that the clergyman has since been buried.
Efforts to reach the police authorities to confirm the incident proved abortive as the Police Public Relations Officer in Niger, Wasiu Abiodun, did not pick his calls or respond to messages sent to him.