Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
Two Nigerian soldiers were killed while eight others wounded as troops decimated 58 bandits in Zamfara State as the combined forces of the military and other security agencies and vigilante groups battled bandits ravaging North-west states of Zamfara, Sokoto and Katsina.
The confrontation followed the discovery of a large gang of bandits with sophisticated firearms and rocket-propelled grenades at Dumburum and Gando forests leading to fierce gun battles, which lasted several hours.
The bandits were forced to abandon their camps due to superior firepower of the military during these encounters.
The troops operating under Operation Sharan Daji also destroyed 18 camps and rescued 75 kidnapped victims held in some of the camps.
The freed captives who were mostly from local communities in Zamfara State were debriefed and reunited with their families.
Items recovered from the bandits include fabric national rifles, four AK 47 Rifles, 10 locally made rifles, one locally fabricated pistol, 40 motorcycles.
“Unfortunately, Operation Sharan Daji also suffered some casualties in these encounters. So far, two gallant soldiers and two members of the vigilante paid the supreme prize.
“A total of eight soldiers and six vigilantes also sustained various degrees of gunshot injuries. Those who sustained injuries were immediately evacuated to Federal Medical Centre, Gusau, for medical treatment, while those with life threatening conditions were evacuated by air for specialist attention outside the theatre of operation.”
“The families of the fallen heroes have been contacted accordingly, while the deceased members of the vigilante were laid to rest in Anka Cemetery, according to Islamic rites,” the army said in a statement issued in Abuja.
The statement signed by acting Force Information Officer, Operation Sharan Daji, Major Clement K. Abiade, said: “The Force Commander, Operation Sharan Daji, Major General SO Olabanji, commiserates with families of the fallen heroes and assures them that their sacrifices will not be in
“He reaffirms the commitment of operation Sharan Daji to rid Zamfara State of all forms of banditry and criminality in line with its mandate.
“Therefore, the general public is enjoined to cooperate with troops and furnish security agencies with useful and timely information about bandits’ activities within their domain”.