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3,000 IDPs starve in Niger as bandits lay siege to farms 

Over 3,000 displaced people at Erena town who recently fled their communities under banditry attacks in Shiroro local government area of Niger state are currently facing starvation due to acute scarcity of food. 

It was learnt that the IDPs are starving in Erena despite having abundant food items in their farms located in local communities now effectively occupied and blocked by bandits. 

Blueprint further gathered that three persons who tried to get food for starving families from their deserted Lantan village on Tuesday never returned. They were killed by the bandits.

A member of the IDPs in the Erena camp,  Adamu Saidu, who spoke on the situation confirmed that his son-in-law was killed in the latest attack, adding that, “the victims were shot on their way to get food for their families.”

He said the bandits are no longer keen in hostage taking for ransom. They cart away large quantities of food stuff and burn villages and foodstuffs.

He said, “All the displaced people from these communities are currently facing an acute shortage of food and other essentials with no help coming from anywhere, hence the decision by the victims to take the deadly risk to get food from their farms. Unfortunately they were gunned down on their way.”

He listed the villages that came under attack on Tuesday to include Lantan, Roro, Rumuchi, and Makuba, where all the houses, foodstuffs and other properties were destroyed.

Still lamenting the situation, Adamu said, “We are here in the camp without food for our children and so they decided to go back to the village to get some food when they were rounded up and killed. Although they allowed us to carry their dead bodies and we have buried them yesterday (Wednesday). But as I speak with you now they have burnt down three villages.

“They set fire on all the foodstuffs in these villages including shops. They told us that anybody who dares to come back to these villages would be killed,” he said.

Although there is no official statement from either the government or the security agencies in the state on the latest attack, a former chairman of Shiroro locals government area who spoke on condition of anonymity, described the situation as getting worse than before,  adding that, “the terrorists no longer ask for ransom but outright killing of the innocent villagers”.

He said, “When they see anybody they just kill him. They are no longer kidnapping and demanding for ransom like before. They kill and burn villages and foodstuffs. The situation is now very terrible.”

He decried the absence of security personnel in the affected areas, adding  that apart from Erena community, there is no single security presence anywhere around the communities under attack.

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