Nine soldiers fleeing bandits’ assault in Sokoto have been rescued by Nigerien troops.
According to Daily Trust Sources, the Nigerian soldiers were rescued at Basira, a border village under Gidan Roumdji district of Niger Republic, on Friday.
Bandits had a few days ago attacked a joint military base codenamed “Burkusuma Camp” located in Sabon Birni Local Government Area of Sokoto State, killing military and paramilitary officers.
The bandits also attacked Gatawa and other villages around the area.
Although the attack took place in the early hours of Friday, the information did not filter in until Sunday as the area is affected by telecommunication shutdown currently in force in Zamfara State and parts of Sokoto and Katsina States.
A member of the Sokoto State House of Assembly, Aminu AlMustapha Gobir, confirmed the attack, saying 12 security personnel were killed in action.
Also, the Sokoto State Commissioner for Carriers and Security Matters, Colonel Garba Moyi (rtd) confirmed the attack but said he was not sure of the casualty figures.
The attacks on the Sokoto communities were reportedly carried out by bandits from the combined teams of two Zamfara bandits’ kingpins, Halilu Sububu and Kachalla Turji.
“The bandits came in large number, surrounded the camp and started firing from every angle,” a former chairman of Sabon Birni Local Government, Engineer Idris Muhammad Gobir (aka Danchadi) disclosed this, citing eyewitnesses from the area.
It was learnt that nine soldiers, three mobile policemen and three personnel of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) lost their lives in the attack. Gobir said many security operatives in the camp were still missing.
The marauders also burnt down two patrol vehicles and carted away another one, which was used to convey food items stolen from the villagers.
Gobir said they received a report about the attack from a resident of the area who was using the Nigerien network.
However, a prominent traditional ruler in the area confirmed that some vehicles were sent to evacuate the corpses of the fallen heroes.
“And over 10 trucks loaded with well-armed soldiers are currently in the forest trailing the bandits.
An officer of the NSCDC who sought anonymity confirmed to our reporter that three of their personnel were among the casualties.
“As I am talking to you, we are at the morgue to claim and recover their corpses for burial,” he said.
It was learnt that the bandits also attacked Katsira village where they shot four persons.
Two of the victims were said to have died instantly while the remaining two were receiving treatment at an undisclosed hospital.
The bandits were also said to have whisked away three persons from the village.
The spokesman for the 8 Division of the Nigerian Army, Major Yahaya Ngulde could not be reached for comment as of the time of filing this report.
Similarly, the Police Public Relation Officer, ASP Sanusi Abubakar said he was not aware of the attack.
When contacted, the Director of Defence Information, Maj.-Gen. Benjamin Sawyer told one of our correspondents that he would get back after confirmation of the incident.
“You have already reported it quoting from your source. I will have to confirm your publication,’’ he said.
He was yet to get back to us when filing this report.
The situation worsened by rivalry among security agencies – Experts
Experts have identified a lack of synergy among the various security agencies as a major factor responsible for insecurity in Nigeria. The experts made the comments in a Zoom meeting organised by the Nigerian Diaspora Network (NDN), US chapter on Saturday night.
Speaking on the matter, a retired army officer, Col. Nelson Hambolu noted that the whittling down of the Nigerian Police Force and duplication of its functions by other agencies had weakened the force.
“There is rivalry and at the end of the day, it is about money,” he said.
He advocated a return to the grassroots to address the challenge, maintaining that “We cannot talk about banditry without talking about unemployment and poverty.”
In his presentation, Prof Albert Ayeni described the actions of bandits as terrorism and warned the government to act before the infiltrating terrorists unleash more attacks that would make “What happened in Afghanistan would be a child’s play.”
He called on the legislature to find a way outside the efforts being made by the executive to address the ugly trend.
On his part, the President of the Nigerian Diaspora Organisation (NIDO), Kareem Bello identified “political system failure” as the major problem confronting Nigeria and which has translated to the high level of poverty and insecurity.