Niger Airstrike: 8,200 people flee from community
…Accuse Government of Abandoning Them For Political Campaigns
From John Adams, Minna
With almost five days after an unidentified fighter Jet killed about 25 members of the Niger State Joint Security TaskForce, including local vigilantes and Youths volunteers in Galadiman Kogo, Shiroro local government area of the state, the community has accused the government of abandoning them for political campaigns.
Well over 8,000 people, including women and children from across six villages in Galadiman Kogo District were forced to flee their homes since last week Tuesday after an airstrike killed the some JTF members, local vigilantes and some Youths volunteers.
The villages where the people have abandoned their homes include. Nakurna, Pelele, Iburo, Gofa, Galape and Nasa.
The Displaced People are currently taken refuge at the NEPA camp in Zumba, Zumba Central primary school, government day secondary school, North South Power club house and other self improvised make-shift camps around Zumba community without food and water for five days now.
The Sarkin Samari (youth leader) of Galadiman Kogo community, Ibrahim Bahago who spoke to our correspondent on the plight of the people, said since the killing of the unfortunate airstrike that killed JTF members, no single government official has visited the community for a first hand information of exactly what happened not to talk of sympathizing with the people.
“Since the airstrike, nobody, I mean no government official has visited the community to know what actually happened. We lost our youths who were working with the DSS people but nobody has come to sympathized with us.
“It was only the immediate past Chairman of the local government, Mallam Suleiman Chukuba that visited the NEPA Camp where our people are staying. We have been abandoned to our faith. The government warned our traditional leaders not to speak to anybody on the airstrike if not they will be removed”.
However some other members of the community who spoke to Sunday Sun under the condition of anonymity, said they suspected that the airstrike was a complete sabotage just to send the JTF away from the community and allow the Terrorists have their way, insisting that “why must it be when the JTF members had ambushed the Terrorists who were coming to attack the community that the Jet bomb them”.
According to him, he could recalled a similar incident last year April when over 50 Terrorists invaded the Camp of the JTF at the same Galadiman Kogo, and killed about 13 of them, including seven local vigilante. The incident, he pointed out happened after about 100 members of the JTF members were withdrawn from Galadiman Kogo and sent to Kagara a day before the invasion of their camp by the Terrorists at about 4:00pm.
The people said they decided to flee from the community because they did not know what will follow next after the remaining JTF members had left the community, leaving the people vulnerable to potential attack from the Terrorists.
Since the airstrike Tuesday last week, neither the government nor the state police command has come up with any statement on the incident.