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Since Sunday evening, suspected members of the Boko Haram have taken over Pandogari-Allawa road in Shiroro Local Government Area (LGA) of Niger State, killing and kidnapping locals, especially women and children.

The terrorists, around 05:00 p.m. on Sunday, waylaid a convoy of seven goods-laden vehicles heading to Allawa from Pandogari, a town in Kagara, the capital of Rafi LGA.

They killed six locals and kidnapped many women and children before setting three vehicles ablaze.

The other four vehicles narrowly escaped — two to Allawa and the remaining to Pandogari.

Subsequently, a combined team of local vigilantes and officials of the Nigerian Army stationed at Allawa town mobilised to the scene for a rescue mission, residents of the community told PREMIUM TIMES.

But the soldiers later withdrew leaving the vigilantes behind. Unfortunately, the terrorists struck again, ambushed the vigilantes and killed one. Four others sustained injuries while two among them went missing.

Dodging an explosives

Jibrin Allawa, a youth leader from the community, told PREMIUM TIMES that the insurgents had “planted a land mine which one of the drivers leading the convoy spotted and unsuccessfully attempted to dodge.”

“Aliyu Bisala, the driver who was driving the truck, said he saw a spark of light and he knew it was a land mine, so he matched the brake and tried to turn around but he couldn’t do that because the road was bad,” Mr Allawa narrated.

The terrorists, however, followed up with “sporadic gunshots,” the youth leader continued, noting that some locals running for safety were targeted.

“Some victims who sustained injuries are in Pandogari receiving treatment,” Mr Allawa said, estimating the number of injured people to be three.

More atrocities had been reported on the road after the initial attack on Sunday, according to locals who are now trapped in the middle of the terror as there is no escape route from the community.

Allawa shares a porous border with Birnin Gwari, a terrorist-ravaged local government in Kaduna State.

Tension as more terrorists infiltrate the axis

More terrorists riding on motorcycles have been infiltrating the forest surrounding Allawa and other villages since the Sunday attack, residents who saw them around Polwaya said

“There are reports that the terrorists riding on more than 60 motorcycles are trooping into our community through Polwaya,” Sadi Allawa, a resident, told PREMIUM TIMES.

“There is tension, people are afraid to walk to areas about two kilometres from the town,” he said.

Yahuza Agumi, a Quranic teacher in Allawa, said the community is tense, adding that some people are still missing.

“We don’t know their fate,” he said. “We don’t know whether they have been killed or kidnapped.”

When contacted, Niger State Commissioner for Homeland Security, Garba Mohammed, said proactive measures are being taken to rescue the situation.

“Coordinated efforts in progress and proper synergy with all relevant security agencies,” Mr Mohammed, a retired major general, wrote in a response to our enquiry, noting that the Air Force has been making efforts to disperse the terrorists.

“However, the weather was not good for the last two days,” he added. “The prospect is better today according to the forecast.”

Boko Haram notorious for attacks on the road

Boko Haram terrorists have been inflicting terror on the road in recent years, although a separate terror faction led by Kachalla Ali who was killed by the military last year also wreaked havoc on the rural road.

In August last year, suspected Boko Haram members staged similar terror attacks on the same road, killing a newly wedded couple, Yahaya Masinja, and his wife. In the attack, they also looted food stuff and fuel from a truck and later set it ablaze.

Late Masinja’s body lying before soldiers staging counter-terrorism tactics after the attack in August / Jibrin Allawa: Facebook.

Earlier in February that year, a similar attack was carried out by the jihadists who ambushed motorists along the same road near Gyramiya village. The terrorists razed two vehicles and shot at motorists as they chanted “Allahu Akbar.”

The aftermath of the February 2023 attack.The immediate past governor of Niger State, Abubakar Bello, who is now a senator, confirmed the presence of Boko Haram insurgents in the state in 2021, saying the terror group had hoisted its flag in Kaure, Shiroro LGA.

About Dons Eze

DONS EZE, PhD, Political Philosopher and Journalist of over four decades standing, worked in several newspaper houses across the country, and rose to the positions of Editor and General Manager. A UNESCO Fellow in Journalism, Dr. Dons Eze, a prolific writer and author of many books, attended several courses on Journalism and Communication in both Nigeria and overseas, including a Postgraduate Course on Journalism at Warsaw, Poland; Strategic Communication and Practical Communication Approach at RIPA International, London, the United Kingdom, among others.

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