Abubakar Sani Bello,Niger State governor

There are indications that the Niger State Government may have agreed to the demands of the bandits in the state to withdraw vigilante groups from Kagara and neighbouring communities as one of the conditions for the release of students, parents and staff of the community school abducted last week.

The withdrawal of the vigilante men was one of the demands the bandits made in an audio recording on Wednesday as a precondition for and end to the spate of violence and kidnappings.

The Nation reported that the state government had begun the process of gradual withdrawal of local vigilantes in the state.

Some of Kagara community residents who spoke to The Nation, said they had noticed that there had been far fewer number of vigilance men in the area in the past two days than had been previously.

An audio recording purportedly said to be the conversation between the Kagara abductors and the negotiator reveals that the bandits demanded the disbandment of vigilantes if the government wanted peace in Kagara.

“Deploying security officials in Kagara is a waste of time. Is there a fence in this forest? You know we are not in the cities; we are in the forest.

“You see, if you want to seek peace, seek peace. And if you don’t stop the activities of vigilantes in Niger, you will not know peace forever,” the recording stated.

The bandit, who was speaking to the negotiator in Hausa, said that they no longer had food to feed the children, asking the government to hurry up and pay for the children’s release.

“I don’t have food for them. If anybody dies among them, we will tell you where to go and pick the corpse.

“You know these children are hungry. I don’t have food to give them; only water. If they are going to die, let them die.”

Meanwhile, five people have been killed, eight abducted and several injured in a recent attack by bandits on Angwar Mahogi in Kusherki District and Rafingora towns of Rafi Local Government Area of the state.

One of the deceased was a would-be groom whose wedding had been fixed for the March 6.

It was learnt that the bandits arrived the community on more than 30 motorcycles, shooting sporadically into the air.