Banditry escalates in Niger, 9 killed as IDPs’ camps swell by 3,600



Escalating banditry attacks in Shiroro local government area of Niger state has resulted in the killing of no fewer than 9 persons, forcing over 3,600 villagers mostly women and children into Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps in primary schools’ premises in Kuta, Bosso and Zumba within two weeks.

Also, many were  still trooping in daily thereby triggering the fear of possible community transmission and spread of COVID-19 in the event of anyone being infested.

 A visit to the camps by our correspondent Thursday  showed that the Kuta camp with a population of 1,211 received influx of additional 300 persons while the Bosso camp on the same day received 326 women and children fleeing the bandits to swell up the camp to 2,266  IDPs, while those at Zumba camp were profiled at 165.

A breakdown of the profiling made available by the desk officer of the Kuta IDPs’ camp, Mr Yusuf Bala Kuta, showed 294 women, 858 children and 56 males, while those presented at Bosso camp by the desk officer, Mr Usman Jagaba Bosso showed the presence of 1,184 children, 237 females and 157 males.

Checks at the Kuta camp revealed there were only two toilets in the camp while children defecate openly behind the classrooms which now serve as their homes.

It was also discovered that over 80 women and children were sharing each classroom making it difficult to observe any social distancing or other precautionary measures of preventing COVID-19, as put in place by government and medical professionals.

Speaking in an interview, the desk officer at Kuta  camp, Mr  Kuta explained that those in the camp were adequately sensitised on the existence of coronavirus.

He said: “The Shiroro local government has provided hand washing materials including the sinking of bore hole at the camps to provide clean water.”

Kuta described the situation at the camp as pathetic and worrisome, explaining that although food was available, the personal hygiene and sanitation of the crowd were getting out of hand.

“We are aware of the rules and other precautionary measures put in place by the government to curtail the spread of coronavirus. However, we have a challenge as more people continued to troop into the camp.

“Presently the classrooms are not enough to comfortably accommodate the people and more people are still coming in. As I speak, I have a queue of about 200 people waiting to be profiled into the camp. So we have about 50 people staying in one classroom. We have applied for the principal of the school to open more classrooms for us,” he said.    


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