Bandits have abducted 22 farmers and burnt tractors during a coordinated attack on farmers at Rafin-Daji community, Gurdi ward of Abaji Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Rafin-Daji shares boundary with Zago community in Niger State through River Gurara.
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A farmer who narrowly escaped the attack, Saidu Yakubu, said the incident happened around 2pm on Thursday when the bandits in their large numbers, wielding AK-47 rifles, attacked farmers that were cultivating in the community.
He said the bandits, who went on rampage shooting sporadically into the air before whisking away the farmers, burnt down two tractors that were being used to cultivate a large farmland in the community before the attack.
He also said 13 members of the same family were among the 22 abducted victims.
He gave the names of the abducted 13 family members as Ismaila Barde, Mustapha Barde, Nasiru Barde, Abdulkarim Barde, Sanusi Barde, Usman, Barde.
Others are Nura Barde, Abdullahi Barde, Babawo Barde, Farida Ayuba, Hauwa Ayuba and Hussaini Abdullahi.
He said the 13 family members, including two females, were working in their separate farmlands when the bandits swooped on them.
“It was only God that saved me as I managed to escape when the bandits came in their large number, shooting into the air. Some of them set fire on two tractors working on the farm,” he said.
The district head of Gurdi chiefdom, Alhaji Bala Mohammed, confirmed the abduction of farmers and burning of tractors by bandits while speaking with our reporter through telephone on Friday.
He said he was yet to ascertain the exact number of the abducted farmers, adding that his people were under siege.
“It was even the district head of Gulida, Abubakar Sadauna, that alerted me that bandits had abducted some farmers who were working on their farms and also burnt down two tractors. But I am yet to get the actual number of those involved,” he said.
Bala said he had reported the kidnap incident at the Yaba police division and the authorities of Abaji Area Council.
The spokesperson of FCT police command, ASP Oduniyi Omotayo, confirmed the kidnap incident, saying the farmers were working when gunmen kidnapped them.
“And upon receipt of the information, a combined team of police officers from various tactical and intelligence units of the command, vigilantes and local hunters stormed the forest, combing the place aggressively,” he said.
He said efforts were ongoing to rescue the victims and bring perpetrators to book while monitoring and the surveillance of the community continues.