Niger state government has confirmed the presence of members of the Islamic State of West Africa, ISWAP, and the dreaded Boko Haram elements in some parts of the state.
Government said the ISWAP members had already set up their camp in Babana in the Borgu local government area of the state while the Boko Haram elements are now in communities in Shiroro LGA.
The Secretary to the State Government Alhaji Ibrahim Ahmed Matane who confirmed this while briefing newsmen on the security situation in the state on Tuesday said the ISWAP elements were operating in the periphery of Nigeria and Benin Republic specifically in the areas of the Kainji National Park.
” Now they have made some audio recordings saying that they are there, that they are not kidnappers, that they are a religious organization that is poised to establish a caliphate that will deal with issues of criminality and other related issues
” They are the same people that kidnapped the Dodo of Wawa, they assured us that they are not bandits, that they are there because they are God sent,” Matane said, adding that “We are not negotiating with them.”
The top government official said that the ISWAP members “cannot enter into Benin Republic because Benin Republic has put a barrier on their border so they are only operating along the periphery of Nigeria and Benin Republic”.
Explaining the presence of the Boko Haram elements in Shiroro Local government area, Matane said they (Boko Haram) “are persuading the people to join their group, they are instigating the villagers against the government, they are indoctrinating the people”.
Matane however did not disclose the steps being taken by the state government to eliminate these ISWAP and Boko Haram members from their enclaves but said ” Government is looking into the issues”.
Matane also confirmed the kidnap of 22 young girls from Sarkin Daji in the Kurebe area of Rafi local government area of the state last week saying that government was working hard to secure the release of the girls.
The girls were reported to have been abducted by suspected Boko Haram members who threatened to marry them out to their members just as it was learned that the Boko Haram elements had also set up a camp in the area.
Matane however said the threat to marry out the girls was part of the strategy by the bandits to get sympathy and make the relations to rush to pay whatever ransom they are demanding for the release of the girls.
He disclosed that seven local governments Munya, Shiroro, Mashegu, Rafi, Mariga Lapai and Borgu are frequently under the siege of bandits which the government is trying to control.