Niger killing: Army vows to avenge death of two officers, four soldiers in fresh ambush

The army has vowed to avenge the killing at the weekend, of two officers and four soldiers in an ambush in Niger State.

It confirmed yesterday that the bodies had been found and remains of the Muslims among them buried.

Two injured soldiers in the ambush are receiving treatment at the military hospital.

The names of those killed have not been released.

It is the second time in a little over one month that military personnel, including officers will be killed in ambush during intervention in peace keeping.

Four officers and 13 soldiers brutally killed in Okuama, Delta State on March 14. Investigation into the matter is still ongoing.

Army spokesman Maj.-Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu, said: “Troops gallantly fought through the ambush and eliminated several of the terrorists as well as captured some of their equipment.

“Sadly, the troops suffered a temporary setback as 6 personnel comprising two officers and four soldiers paid the supreme price.

“The General Officer Commanding 1 Division and Commander Operation Whirl Punch, Maj.-Gen. Landers Saraso has on behalf of the Chief of Army Staff sympathised with the families of the deceased personnel and promised them that the unfortunate setback will be avenged by the troops.

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“He said the troops are currently trailing some of the terrorists who survived and fled after the encounter. He urged the good people of the State to go about their legitimate and lawful activities and reassured them that the Nigerian Army and other security agencies will ensure their protection at all times.”

According to Gen. Nwachukwu, the army, in line with its customs and traditions, had contacted the next of kins of the slain officers and soldiers, while the Muslims among them had been buried in line with Islamic injunction and with the consent and approval of their family members.

The Army spokesman stated that the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja, was represented at the burial which took place at Minna Military Cantonment Cemetery by the Commander Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), Maj.-Gen. Kelvin Aligbe.

Gen. Nwachukwu said: “The deputy governor, representative of the COAS, GOC and other senior officers also visited the two wounded soldiers receiving medical attention at the Military Hospital and subsequently paid a condolence visit to the families of the deceased.”

Governor Mohammed Umar Bago, who sympathized with the Nigerian Army over the killing described the incident as atrocious, provocative and unacceptable.

He expressed his deepest sympathy with the security agencies who are daily making sacrifices to ensure the safety of citizens, with most of them paying the supreme price while assuring the Nigerian Army and every other conventional and non-conventional security agencies that his administration will not rest on it oars in providing all the needed support towards halting the nefarious activities of bandits.

He also commiserated with the families of the slain personnel and other vigilance group members.

In Zamfara State, which Governor Dauda Lawal described as the epicenter of banditry in the North, a group of indigenes, mainly women and children, under continuous threat of bandits have relocated to the Government House, Gusau for protection.

The villagers said they fled following the withdrawal of military security personnel from the area.

A male among them, Malam Umar Salisu, said: “Before now, there were military personnel attached to our village. Some of them were killed by bandits while some were withdrawn yesterday.

“There are no security personnel in our area now. That is why we decided to carry all our wives and children to come to Government House and seek for government’s intervention.”

Another fleeing community member, Hajia Aisha Usman expressed displeasure at the condition of people of the community.

She said: “We are highly disturbed. We receive threats of attacks from bandits on daily basis. There are no security personnel to protect us. We are seeking for government’s intervention.”

Another community member, Malam Wakkala Gurgu said: “we decided to come to Government House to inform the government about security threats in our community.

“We want government to take quick action as regards the security situation. Bandits are currently in our communities. We want government to help us and deploy security personnel to our area.”

Addressing the gathering on behalf of the state government, Commissioner for Science and Technology, Alhaji Wadatau Madawaki, explained that the bandits were mounting pressure because government had refused to negotiate with them.

Madawaki said: “The administration of Governor Dauda Lawal maintains its stand that it will not negotiate with bandits.

“I am happy with the way and manner you have conducted yourselves. I urge you to continue to be patient.

“The government has been making efforts to end lingering security challenges in the state.”

The commissioner added that government had made arrangements to return the fleeing villagers to their community in the company of security operatives.

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