Tragedy struck in Niger State at the weekend following the killing of the Village Head of Madaka identified as Zakari Ya’u Idris in Rafi Local Government Area of the state by gunmen suspected to be armed bandits barely one week after the abduction of the victim.
It could be recalled that on Sunday, 20th December 2020, that gunmen numbering about 50 persons had invaded Madaka community where the bandits allegedly killed about three persons and abducted the village head for a second time.
The Chief of Staff to the Executive Chairman, Rafi Local Government, Mohammed Mohammed confirmed the murder of Zakari Idris to the newsmen in Minna, the state capital by telephone interview on Saturday.
He said the bandits had earlier contacted the family of the slain village head to pay the sum of N850,000 as ransom after which the victim would be set free in their custody.
Mohammed stated further that some five persons that were released after they had allegedly paid their own ransom revealed that the village head of Madaka had been killed by the hoodlums.
According to Council Chairman’s Chief of Staff, those who were set free by the bandits said the Village Head of Madaka Community, Mallam Zakari Ya’u Idris was murdered in cold blood after excruciating torture in the hands of the gunmen, as they were said to have always subjected him to serious beating.
They further revealed that the remains of Zakari Idris was buried in the bush by the bandits.
The village head was abducted after his release about a month ago during which he allegedly spent about three months in the camp of his abductors.
Those killed during invasion by the gunmen in Madaka last Sunday included a leader of the vigilante group in Madaka, Isyaku Alhassan, his son Abdulhamid Isyaku and one other unidentified person.
Scores of other persons were also said to have sustained varying degrees of injuries during the attack, while many houses were set on fire.
The Chief of Staff to Rafi LG Council Chairman at that time had informed our reporter that the attackers were laying siege on a neighbouring village to Madaka.
However, concerted efforts to confirm the incident from the Police Public Relations Officer( PPRO), Niger State Police Command, ASP Wasiu Abiodun on Saturday was not successful as his telephone number was not reachable.
Meanwhile, the District Head of Gunna who was abducted in Yakila in the same local government area of the state was yet to regain freedom as of the time of filling this report on Saturday in Minna.
According to Mohammed, the gunmen were yet to get in touch with relations of the district head to demand for any ransom.
No fewer than about 50 persons have been killed since the renewed banditry attacks on communities in Niger State.
In Rafi LG alone, over 10 persons have been killed in the past one week, with about 33 persons also abducted by the hoodlums.
Several hundreds of community residents have also abandoned their homes in the various communities in Rafi Local Government Area of the state over fears of being killed by the fleeing gunmen with many taking refuge in temporary Internally Displaced camps provided by the state government in conjunction with the Niger State Emergency Management Agency( NSEMA).