Residents of Garam, a border community between Niger state and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), were thrown into panic when bandits invaded the village on motorcycles, seeking direction to Jere, a community in Kaduna State.
A witness said the bandits brandishing AK 47, swords and arrows, spotted military camouflage, while some put on combat trousers, spent several minutes in the community.
The witness said, “On Monday afternoon, bandits numbering more than 100 came into Garam in broad daylight on bikes. The bikes were more than 40 and three bandits were on each bike. They openly displayed AK 47, they also had arrows and swords. Most people ran for their lives because they are not sure what will happen next.”
Another witness said she saw people running when the bandits came with their bikes.
“I saw people running when the bandits arrived. I also peeped where I was hiding and I saw some of them using scarves to cover their faces, while some used masks. Some of them wore combat trousers.”
Our correspondent learnt that the following day, the bandits invaded the community and raided houses to kidnap people.
A witness said: “The bandits started attacking around 10:30p.m. They started burgling shops, especially the shops where some boys were sleeping. They later entered a house close to ours, forced the gate open, broke the windows and removed the burglary, but none of the occupants slept at home.
“Since the last attack on January 2, most people have stopped sleeping at home. They come in the morning, and leave at night. But after two weeks of relative peace, some people decided to return and the same day, the bandits struck.”
Another resident whose house was attacked said they were just saved by the grace of God.
“They attempted to break into our compound around 12:30 am. We didn’t even know what to do. While they continued hitting the padlock we used to lock the gate, we were motionless and okayed dead. We just kept praying silently because there was no one to help. The soldiers were nowhere to be found when they were most needed. They later left our gate before going to the Hausa settlement where they kidnapped scores of people.
“One Nupe woman, whose husband is a driver, was kidnapped alongside her two children. But because the woman has chronic ulcer and she had been sick for some time now, shea was later abandoned. They tied the woman and the two children to the tree. It was herders that saw them in the bush that set them free and also alerted the soldiers who brought them back.”