Bandits have reportedly taken over the Kainji National Park in New Bussa, Borgu local government area of Niger state.
They have also established camps and forced staff to abandon their duty posts in the famous games reserve.
The staff of the Kainji National Park abandoned their duty post after sustained attacks by the gunmen even as communities in the area abandoned their farms and other business activities.
Sources from the communities around the park said over 200 gunmen are believed to be occupying the games reserve and have turned it to their camp.
A resident of one of the communities who pleaded anonymity said, “due to the activities of the bandits, no single staff of the National Park is left behind in the park, including the forest guards who are providing security for the park.”
Sources said the bandits now come from their hideout in the park to attack innocent travelers along the busy Wawa-Luma highway, connecting Benin Republic.
The source said, “Two weeks ago, the bandits were spotted with over 100 motorcycles at the entrance gate of the National Park suspected to be holding a meeting. The entire Wawa-Luma Road was blocked on that day, as nobody could pass it for several hours.”
The men of the Nigerian Custom Service have reportedly closed down their checkpoint at Wawa-Babana, a border town with Benin Republic, due to the activities of the bandits.
The bandits were said to have attacked a commercial Sharon bus along the Wawa-Luma Road on Tuesday and kidnapped the entire passengers in the bus, including the driver. Three others on motorcycle were said to have been injured while another escaped into the bush.
It was learnt that the injured ones with several cutlass cuts on their bodies are currently receiving treatment at a government health facility in New Bussa, while those kidnapped are still being held by the gunmen.
When contacted, vice chairman of Borgu LGA, Mallam Abdullahi Mohammed Nasir, aka Lambus, confirmed the development, describing it as very worrisome and disturbing.
However, efforts made to contact the Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Wasiu Abiodun, on the story were unfruitful.