Bomb blast displaces 8,000 persons in Niger state
No fewer than 8,150 persons were displaced from Galadima-Kogo and environs in Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger when an aircraft bombed the area on Jan. 24.
The area bombed had Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) taking refuge at some facilities.
Secretary to Niger State Government, Alhaji Ahmed Matane, said in Minna on Saturday that the aircraft belongs to the Nigeria Air Force and was not aware that security personnel was in the area.
He added that it was not a mysterious aircraft as being rumoured.
He said the government was also aware of the presence of IDPs in the area.
Matane said the government had discussed with Shiroro Local Government Council officials and the management of the North-South Power (NSP) facilities in the area that provide shelter for the IDPs.
“We are doing assessment to deal with the matter and we are also dealing with the issue of those who lost their lives from the angle of security personnel that were accidentally affected.
“We have recorded some deaths and are attending to the injured in hospitals.
“Relief materials are being processed to take to victims and government wants to ensure that security is provided at the IDP camps,’’ he said.
One of the displaced victims, Hajiya Rabi Musa, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that residents saw the aircraft flying through on Tuesday only to hear a very loud bang that shook the area.
“Many of our people were killed, aside the vigilante members. We ran to take shelter at the NSP facilities; right now no single person is left in our community; it is deserted.
“Since we came here, nobody has come to our aid; not even a single government official. We don’t have water to drink, not even to take our bath; we are suffering,’’ she said.
Youth Leader in Galadima-Kogo, Malam Ibrahim Bahago, said the community was told on Tuesday that bandits were going through the area.
He said vigilantes went toward the route the bandits were passing through in the company of other security operatives but were ambushed.
“Our vigilantes were ambushed and the next thing we heard was a very loud sound and it was a bomb thrown at the vigilantes protecting us. Many of them died.
“Since we came here no government official has come to our aid."
Bahago accused the state government of neglecting the victims and leaving them to their devices.
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