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Niger State: Newly-Wedded Groom Murdered by Bandits in Presence of His Bride

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SHIRORO, Nigeria – A devastating incident occurred in the Shiroro LGA of Niger State when a newly-wedded groom, Yahaya Masinja, was brutally shot and killed by bandits.

Masinja, an employee of the Government Secondary School, GSS, in Allawa, faced this tragedy while traveling back to Allawa alongside his bride.

The couple encountered the bandits at Maganda Junction on the Allawa-Pandogari Road around 6 pm on Monday, August 7, 2023.

In a desperate bid to escape, they abandoned their vehicle, which was laden with foodstuffs, and fled into the nearby forest.

However, a tragic twist occurred when Masinja, believing his fellow travelers were attempting to leave, ran out of his hiding spot in the forest only to be met with a bullet from the bandits.

A local resident recounted, “When he saw the truck starting, he mistakenly thought it was his fellow travelers trying to drive away, urging them to wait for him. It was at this moment that the bandits shot him.”

Jibrin Allawa, President of the Lakpma Youth Assembly, confirmed the heart-wrenching details of the incident and revealed that, besides the murder, the bandits set the Mitsubishi truck on fire after looting its contents.

They also made away with a significant amount of food items and fuel from the truck.

In light of this tragic event, Allawa appealed to the government, emphasizing the need to utilize the Allawa Game Reserve.

He believes repurposing the reserve, which currently serves as a refuge for these bandits, could potentially restrict their movement and activities in the region.

2 Catholic Priests Abducted in Niger State Prompt Urgent Plea for Prayer and Action

Two priests of St Luke’s Catholic Church, Gyedna, in the Tafa Local Government Area of Niger State were abducted by gunmen suspected to be bandits.

The kidnapping occurred in the early hours of Thursday, August 3, 2023 at their residence.

The victims, Fr Paul Sanogo and Seminarian Melchior, were pastoral workers at the church. Residents reported to journalists that the kidnappers fired shots into the air for over an hour before taking the priests away.

The Catholic Bishop of Minna, Most Rev Dr Martin Igwe Uzoukwu, sent a heartfelt message to church members, which he shared with our correspondent.

The message read: “On behalf of my Auxiliary Most Rev Sylvester Luka Gopep, the Priests and Religious of the Catholic Diocese of Minna, I request for your prayers for Fr Paul Sanogo (M.Afr) and Seminarian Melchior who were kidnapped by bandits in the early hours of August 3, 2023, at the priest residence at Gyedna, Niger State. We pray the Lord hears our prayers and brings them back in peace.”

The Niger State Police Command confirmed the incident, with Spokesperson SP Wasiu Abiodun describing the area’s challenging terrain.

“However, the location of the church was discovered to be on the outskirts of the town, which is about an hour drive from Sabon-Wuse, and surrounded by mountains and forest, close to Kagarko area of Kaduna state.”

Abiodun further informed that police tactical teams led by the DPO of Tafa Division had been dispatched to the scene.

“Meanwhile, other seminarians therein have been advised to relocate temporarily while an investigation into the incident is ongoing with a view to rescuing the victims and arresting the perpetrators of the crime,” he said.

The kidnapping of the priests marks yet another worrisome episode in the ongoing struggle with banditry and insecurity in parts of Nigeria.

Local communities and religious leaders are urging the authorities to redouble their efforts to ensure citizens’ safety and bring the kidnappers to justice.

As the nation awaits the safe return of the kidnapped priests, the incident has led to a wave of fear and concern in the area, further highlighting the need for a robust response to the persistent threat of banditry and criminality in the region.

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