- El-Rufai donates N5.5million to bereaved families
John Shiklam in Kaduna
The remains of the 11 soldiers killed by bandits in Kompanin Doka village in Birnin Gwari Local Government Area of Kaduna State were laid to rest thursday in Kaduna with full military honours.
The state government also donated N500,000 to each family of the deceased soldiers during their burial ceremony which was held at the Commonwealth Cemetery, Kaduna.
The soldiers were part of the special security operation code named, Ayem Akpatuma and deployed to the Birnin Gwari area to check the activities of armed robbers, kidnappers and cattle rustlers terrorising the area.
They were killed by the bandits who were said to have invaded the soldiersâ€™ camp on March 20, 2018, between 8p.m. and 9p.m.
Presenting a cheque of N5.5 million to the General Officer Commanding (GOC),1 Division of the Nigerian Army, Maj. Gen. Muhammad Muhammad, during the burial for onward delivery to the families of the soldiers, the state Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, described the killings as tragic and sad.
The governor who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Balarabe Abbas, said the state government was pained by the incident.
â€œIt is with heavy heart and regrets that I stand in your midst to express our heartfelt condolences to the families of 11 soldiers who lost their lives in action at Kompani Doka.
â€œThese soldiers were part of the operation Ayem Akpatuma which commenced on February 5, 2018, to combat the security situation in Kamuku forest and its environs as well as curtail the activities of kidnappers and other criminal elements on major highways in the state,â€ the governor said.
He further said: â€œThese soldiers fought gallantly in securing our lives; they paid the supreme price in the process while three others were also wounded during the attack by the bandits.â€
El-Rufai prayed to God to grant the families of the deceased and the Nigerian army the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.
He assured them that the state government would not relent in efforts to work with security agencies to fish out the killers and bring them to justice.
The governor commended members of the armed forces and other security agencies for the support they have been giving to Kaduna State Government in tackling security challenges.
Speaking earlier, GOC, Maj. Gen. Muhammad said the army would not relent in fishing out the bandits and bringing them to justice.
He lamented that the deceased soldiers, who were between the ages of 19 to 23, joined the army barely a year ago, full of life and were ready to serve the country.
According to the GOC, the soldiers were even yet to meet their families to show them their military uniform when they were cut down.
â€œThis is a solemn occasion not much speech would be made. Like Muslims say, from God we came and to Him we shall return.
â€œIf we shed tears today, it is because we hold these gentlemen in high esteem.
Morning of 20 March, 2018, very able men stood out to assist this country, they came into this job barely a year ago full of life to give their service to this country.
â€œThey told their relations that they had joined the Nigerian army. Most of them were yet to go back to their relations to show them the uniforms they were given in the army.
â€œThat is the sad thing about this occasion. Now they have paid the supreme sacrifice to defend the territorial integrity of this country.
â€œThey shed their blood in the community of Birnin Gwari in Kaduna State.â€
Apparently reacting to recent allegations by Gen. Theophilus
Danjuma (rtd) that the military was colluding with bandits who kill Nigerians, Muhammad wondered how the army could aide those killing soldiers.
â€œHow then can we tell them that they are aiding those who kill them? As such, when we are responsible enough to make statements, we should not trivialise,â€ the GOC said.
Speaking further Muhammad said: â€œThe soldiers were trained for about six months and were taken for further training to add value to them, only to be cut short of the dreams they had for this country, which they defended with their blood…â€
The deceased soldiers were Ahmed Olabode, Bamidele Adekunle, Christian Ogochukwu, Adamu Mohammed and Lamara Ahmed.
Others were Suleiman Mubarak, Bashir Sani, Usman Abubakar, Nafiu Iliyasu, Safiyanu Ahmed and Alhassan Ibrahim.
The burial was attended by top military officers as well as the police and other security heads in the state.