Six soldiers, one police officer, another killed in bandits attack in Niger

• Many injured, 15 persons kidnapped, military camp, vehicles burnt during attack

Gunmen suspected to be armed bandits were said to have killed eight persons including six soldiers and one mobile policeman in a fresh attack on communities in Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State.

The hoodlums also reportedly abducted over 15 persons, stole seven motorcycles and burnt down military vehicles among others in the attack.

The attack occurred on Wednesday night and in the early hours of Thursday at about 2:00 am leaving villagers scampering for safety in nearby forests.

Tribune Online gathered that the affected communities include Allawa, Manta, Gurmana, Bassa and Kokki in Shiroro council.

It was further learnt that at about 2 am on Thursday, the bandits stormed and opened fire on the camp of the Joint Security Task Force comprised of the Army, Police, Civil Defence Corps and Vigilante group at Allawa.

Six soldiers and one mobile policeman were killed in the attack. Many others were said to have sustained varying degree of injuries.

Eyewitnesses said the bandits had on Wednesday attacked Manta, Gurmana and Bassa villages where they killed one Alhaji Sale in Madalla community under Bassa ward and kidnapped four people and went away with two motorcycles.

Confirming the incident, President Shiroro Youths Movement/Chairman MHWUN-SHLGA in Bassa, Gurmana and Manta, Mohammed Sani Idris, said the bandits armed with AK-47 numbering about 100 attacked each community for about five hours unchallenged.

“During the invasion, they killed one Alhaji Sale in Madalla community under Bassa ward and kidnapped four people and made away with two motorcycles.

“Also in Kokki Boddo a community under Gurmana ward, they abducted six persons and took away five motorcycles. Five people were also kidnapped in Manta ward.”

Idris thereby appealed to both the federal and state governments to double their efforts in rescuing the lives of people in the various communities.

When contacted, the co-convener, Concerned Shiroro Youths, Sani Abubakar Yusuf Kokki told our reporter that five soldiers and one NSCDC officer were killed in Allawa by the bandits who attacked their camp the early morning of Thursday.

According to him, “the criminals took the personnel of the Joint Security Task Force unaware and opened fire on them. In the process, unfortunately, they successfully burnt down the camp to ashes including the operational vehicles.”

He explained that Allawa, before the attack, was one of the few towns standing in Lakpma axis of Shiroro local government that have not been invaded in the recent past.

Lamenting the rate of attacks by bandits in the area, Kokki said, “we, the affected victims view this phenomenon from the angle of ethnic cleansing as we have been abandoned to our fate. As a result of sheer negligence from the authorities constitutionally saddled with the responsibility of providing adequate security to the citizenry. There is deliberate efforts by criminals through crude means to depopulate us and from all indications, they are coasting to their victory.”

However, efforts to get the reaction of the state police failed as calls put through the Public Relations Officer (PRO), DSP. Wasiu Abiodun were not answered as at the time of filing this report.

When contacted, Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Ahmed Ibrahim Matane confirmed the incident.

He said: “Yes, there was an attack at our army base at Allawa, usually it is a deployment point from where we deploy soldiers and security agencies to black spots in that area.

“Allawa, you know, is a huge forest that has become a sanctuary for bandits. What we have done is to deploy security agencies to be able to address and respond to attacks in that area. Unfortunately, this is what happened,” Matane said.

He said security agencies including the Commissioner of Police, the Brigade Commander have been dispatched to the area “to verify and validate what has happened.”



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